Researchers have uncovered a gene they suspect triggers fullness and might finally help us stop overeating, too. Sounds like the best development in dieting so far.
The research, conducted by scientists at Monash University in Melbourne and the University of Copenhagen, identified a special gene in roundworms, which share about 80 per cent of their genetic makeup with humans. This particular gene controls signals between the brain and gut, triggering a sense of fullness after enough fat’s been stored away. But even more importantly, it also tells the worm to stop moving around once full.
“When animals are malnourished they seek out food by roaming their environment,” said lead researcher Roger Pocock. “When they’re well fed they have no need to roam, and when they’re fully sated they enter a sleep-like state.”
It may seem odd that scientists were poking around in worms to find a ‘cure’ for overeating, but apparently, they make great subjects.
“Because roundworms share so many genes with humans they are a great model system to investigate and gain a better understanding of processes like metabolism as well as diseases in humans,” said Pocock.
Since humans and roundworms share similar genes, experts are optimistic that these findings could lead to a drug that will curb hunger and fight obesity. Um, sign us up for the trials, please?