Polymorphisms of the FTO Gene Are Associated With Variation in Energy Intake, but not Energy Expenditure

Authors

  • John R. Speakman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
    2. Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
      (j.speakman@abdn.ac.uk)
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  • Kellie A. Rance,

    1. Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
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  • Alexandra M. Johnstone

    1. Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
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(j.speakman@abdn.ac.uk)

Abstract

The FTO gene has significant polymorphic variation associated with obesity, but its function is unknown. We screened a population of 150 whites (103F/47M) resident in NE Scotland, United Kingdom, for variants of the FTO gene and linked these to phenotypic variation in their energy expenditure (basal metabolic rate (BMR) and maximal oxygen consumption VO2max) and energy intake. There was no significant association between the FTO genotype and BMR or VO2max. The FTO genotype was significantly associated (P = 0.024) with variation in energy intake, with average daily intake being 9.0 MJ for the wild-type TT genotype and 10.2 and 9.5 MJ for the “at risk” AT and AA genotypes, respectively. Adjusting intake for BMR did not remove the significance (P = 0.043). FTO genotype probably affects obesity via effects on food intake rather than energy expenditure.

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