CANADA: Fat conversion experiment in mice lifts hopes for human obesity cure
Scientists from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, have isolated the gene in mice that turns bad (white) fat into good (brown) fat. In a study published in Nature Medicine 2001 (pp. 1102-1103, 1128-1132), Dr Nahum Sonenberg and his colleagues explained how they were able to create leaner mice, which could eat as much as fatter mice, by inactivating a metabolism-related gene that encodes a protein called 4E-BP1. With this gene gone, the animals' bodies converted some of their fat stores into a more weight-friendly fat that promotes calorie burning. Overall, the study found that mice without the 4E-BP1 gene weighed about 10% less than normal mice, despite eating the same amount of food.
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