New gene discovered 8 December 2014 WA researchers have helped discover a hidden ‘obesity gene’. The previously unrecognised gene is one of a few now linked to insulin resistance and high blood-glucose levels. Researchers believe the discovery adds further weight to the theory that obesity and lack of exercise are not the only contributing factors to type 2 diabetes. Using specially bred mice from eight genetic backgrounds, Dr Sof Andrikopoulos from Melbourne University worked with Professor Grant Morahan from Perth’s Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to measure body weight, blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. They found several genes that together increased susceptibility to obesity and the body’s inability to respond to naturally occurring insulin. The researchers hope the findings will one day change the way type 2 diabetes is diagnosed and treated. Diabetes Queensland’s credentialed diabetes educator Louise Natusch welcomed the new findings but said a healthy lifestyle was still important in helping to prevent type 2 diabetes. “Regardless of a person’s genes it is still important to eat a healthy well-balanced diet and do regular exercise,” she said.