Monday, March 10, 1997
No sooner was discovery of a new obesity-related gene announced last
week than it became embroiled in rival ownership claims.
Researchers at the University of California Davis Medical Center, Duke
University Medical Center and the French Centre National de la Recherche pinpointed a new
gene, uncoupling protein 2 (ucp2), responsible for determining weight gain. The ucp2
protein, produced in mitochondria, burns excess calories in the diet by uncoupling
respiration at the electron transport stage. Uncoupling results in heat generation rather
than fat synthesis.