Weight is a prickly problem

January 06, 2010

A key role for hedgehog signalling in controlling fat

Obesity is a widespread condition in humans and has many serious consequences.  Not only are overweight people faced with surcharges on airplanes but they also have a much higher risk of contracting a number of potentially fatal diseases.  A considerable amount of research effort is currently focussed on the problem of weight control but to date genetic screens for factors that cause obesity have been hampered by the lack of an appropriate system.  Putting it bluntly, yeast do not become overweight.  However, fortunately (for us) flies do and this has provided scientists in Josef Penninger’s group at the IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology) in Vienna with a unique handle on the process.  Their initial and highly surprising results are reported in the present issue of Cell.

The Vienna Biocenter in the third district of Vienna has established itself as the premier location for life sciences in Central Europe and is a world-leading international bio-medical research center.


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