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Manipulating Certain Genetic Molecules May Help Control Obesity

September 6, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
Experiments with laboratory animals show a link between microRNAs and cellular metabolism, U.S. researchers report, suggesting that drugs that manipulate microRNAs may control obesity. MicroRNAs are tiny molecules that were once considered to be junk DNA. When two of the small molecules were missing from the genetic makeup of some mice on high fat diets, they became resistant to obesity. The researchers believe that treatments targeting the two specific microRNAs may help stem the worldwide obesity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, about 500 million adults were considered obese in 2008.
M. Carrer et al., "Control of mitochondrial metabolism and systemic energy homeostasis by microRNAs 378 and 378", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 06, 2012, © National Academy of Sciences
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