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

Science, Maths & Technology 

Top tips for budding biologists

In this video discover top tips from experts in biology and get a feel for whether studying biology (and an eventual career in the field) is for you.

Video
5 mins

Science, Maths & Technology 

Obesity: Balanced diets and treatment

The incidence of obesity is on the increase in affluent societies, and the phenomenon commands increasing attention from health professionals, legislators and the media. This free course, Obesity: Balanced diets and treatment, looks at the science behind obesity, examining the dietary, physiological and genetic aspects of the topic.

Free course
15 hrs

Science, Maths & Technology 

Strange coloured teeth; strange coloured bones

Are bones and teeth always white? Not always...

Article

Science, Maths & Technology 

Cool Hand Luke

Robert Llewellyn and Dr Jonathan Hare take on Hollywood Science, testing the science that filmgoers take for granted. Here they look at the famous egg eating incident with Paul Newman in the film Cool Hand Luke

Article

Science, Maths & Technology 

Vaccination

Vaccinations are now considered a part of everyday life, but how do they work? Vaccination is a free course that will help those with a background in biology understand the historical development of vaccination, assess the various types of vaccines used today, examine their production and explore the limitations that are placed on vaccination programmes.

Free course
14 hrs

Science, Maths & Technology 

Influenza: A case study

This free course, Influenza: A case study, explores the biology of influenza, covering a range of topics including: the virus, infection, replication, mutation, immune responses, pathology, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment.

Free course
6 hrs

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

Science, Maths & Technology 

Unzip your genes - Debate the influences on characteristics

Join the discussion: So there are genetic and environmental influences on our characteristics. But is it really that simple? Perhaps our genes can influence our environment, or vice versa?

Article

Science, Maths & Technology 

Unzip your genes

Try this quiz to determine whether common traits are hereditary or influenced by the environment

Activity