Science, Maths & Technology

Unzip your genes - Debate the genetic influence on body weight

Updated Thursday 24th March 2011

Join the discussion: How do we know that genes influence how much weight we gain, surely people differ in how much food they eat and how much they exercise?

How do we know that genes influence how much weight we gain, surely people differ in how much food they eat and how much they exercise?

Some researchers have investigated this question using some very clever study designs. One example of this is Professor Bouchard Jr who studied 12 pairs of identical twins. All twins consumed over 1000kcal per day for 100 days, and were not allowed to do intense physical exercise. After 100 days some participants only gained 4kg, while others gained as much as 13kg. The weight gain was much more similar within twin pairs than between pairs, suggesting that weight gain is partly influenced by our genetic make-up.

What do you think?

If this has sparked your interest, why not join in the discussion by posting a response in the Comments section below?

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Global Handwashing Day Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Global Handwashing Day article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Global Handwashing Day

Take a look at the cultural, social and religious implications of washing hands while also learning more about the science of hygiene and sanitation. 

Article
Dr Vicky Taylor on her work with Asian Elephants Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Dr Vicky Taylor on her work with Asian Elephants

Dr Vicky Taylor describes her work with Asian elephants and how the partnership with Woburn Safari Park contributes to our courses.

Video
5 mins
Order your free set of genome fridge magnets Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Order your free set of genome fridge magnets

Sorry - we've run out of supplies of our DNA fridge magnets.

Article
OU HUNT: Download the app Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

OU HUNT: Download the app

Bring your poster to life and unlock fascinating unseen, extra content with 'OU HUNT', an app produced by The Open University.

Article
Diabetes complications Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Diabetes complications

Diabetes is an increasing problem among both adults and children. This free course, Diabetes complications, looks at the way the condition is managed once it has been diagnosed in order to reduce the risk of further complications. You will look at the role of each member of the team involved in the diabetes annual review and look at the risk factors involved with certain diabetes complications.

Free course
16 hrs
What is the genome made of? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

What is the genome made of?

Genomes are composed of DNA, and a knowledge of the structure of DNA is essential to understand how it can function as hereditary material. DNA is remarkable, breathtakingly simple in its structure yet capable of directing all the living processes in a cell, the production of new cells and the development of a fertilized egg to an individual adult. DNA has three key properties: it is relatively stable; its structure suggests an obvious way in which the molecule can be duplicated, or replicated; and it carries a store of vital information that is used in the cell to produce proteins. The first two properties of DNA are analysed in this free course, What is the genome made of?

Free course
4 hrs
How testosterone affects risk taking behaviour article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

How testosterone affects risk taking behaviour

What role does testosterone play in risk taking behaviour?

Article
Are plastics making men infertile? Creative commons image Icon Awo-noyama under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Are plastics making men infertile?

Our world has plastic running through it - but is the prevelance of plastics threatening our survival as a species?

Article
Hearing Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Hearing

Hearing is a familiar and important human sense that is a topic naturally of interest to those who are curious about human biology. This free course will enable you to relate what you read to your own sensory experiences and indeed many of the questions asked have exactly that function. This course will be best understood by those with some biological understanding.

Free course
15 hrs