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By analyzing genetic samples from 224 459 individuals, researchers identified 49 genomic loci associated with waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), 33 of which are novel (Shungin D et al. Nature. 2015;518:187-196). Of these 49 loci, 19 showed significant sex-specific differences, suggesting that genetic regulation of fat distribution is sexually dimorphic. These genes influence body fat distribution by affecting fat cell development, blood vessel formation, transcriptional regulation, and insulin resistance.
Hampton T. Role of Genes in Obesity and Body Fat Distribution. JAMA. 2015;313(13):1305. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2858