Skip Navigation
National Cancer Institute

Behavioral Genetics

Background

Obesity is a complex, multifaceted disease that is influenced by genetic, epigenetic, environment, and behavioral factors. There are individual differences in the predisposition to gain weight as well as genetic variation that increases a person's risk of becoming obese. This initiative aims to understand the complex interplay of genes and behaviors as one approach to understanding the etiology of obesity. Specific behaviors of interest include diet/nutrition (e.g. macronutrient intake, eating behaviors) and physical activity (e.g. individual response to exercise). Increased understanding of gene-behavior interactions can help to develop efficacious obesity interventions.

Trans-NIH Consortium: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-wide Association Studies
August 28-29, 2017 – Rockville, MD
August 30-31, 2016 — Rockville, MD

The trans-NIH Working Group on Genes, Behaviors and Weight Loss is interested in understanding the genetic contribution to variability in weight loss treatment response. As a way to leverage existing resources, the Working Group issued RFI NOT-CA-15-042: Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-Wide Association Studies to explore genetic variants associated with intentional weight loss in trials of weight loss interventions. Investigators who responded to the RFI were invited to attend the Trans-NIH Consortium Meeting: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-wide Association Studies meetings, which took place Aug. 28-29, 2017, and Aug. 30-31, 2016, in Rockville, Maryland.

Trans-NIH Consortium: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-Wide Association Studies – Aug. 28-29, 2017 – Agenda (PDF)

Trans-NIH Consortium: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-wide Association Studies: Aug. 30-31, 2016 — Agenda (PDF)

Trans-NIH Consortium: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-wide Association Studies: Aug. 30-31, 2016 — Meeting Report (PDF)

Trans-NIH Conference on Genes, Behaviors, and Response to Weight Loss Interventions
May 8-9, 2014 — Bethesda, MD

Research experts in obesity, genetics, and behavioral and social sciences convened to discuss whether individual genetic variation can influence diet, weight and physical activity behaviors and response to weight loss interventions. The conference highlighted potential implications for tailoring gene-based interventions for successful weight loss and maintenance. Deliverables from the conference have been used in scientific priority setting to inform strategies to address the research agenda identified by conference attendees and by the NIH Obesity Task Force.

Trans-NIH Conference on Genes, Behaviors, and Response to Weight Loss Interventions: May 8-9, 2014 — Agenda (PDF)

Trans-NIH Conference on Genes, Behaviors, and Response to Weight Loss Interventions: May 8-9, 2014 — Meeting Report (PDF)

Contact

Tanya Agurs-Collins, Ph.D., RD
collinsta@mail.nih.gov

View all Health Promotion Funding Opportunities

Reports and Publications

Sponsored Journal Supplements

Integrating Genetics and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Exit Disclaimer. American Journal of Public Health. Volume 103, Number: S1 October 2013.

Gene-Nutrition and Gene-Physical Activity Interactions in the Etiology of Obesity Workshop Exit Disclaimer (Volume 16, Supplement 3s Dec 2008).

Publications

Agurs-Collins T, Fuemmeler B. Dopamine polymorphisms and depressive symptoms predict foods intake. Results from a nationally representative sample. Appetite. 2011 Oct;57(2):339-48

Bookman EB, McAllister K, Gillanders E, Wanke K, Balshaw D, Rutter J, Reedy J, Shaughnessy D, Agurs-Collins T, Paltoo D, Atienza A, et al.; for the NIH G × E Interplay Workshop participants. Gene-environment interplay in common complex diseases: forging an integrative model-recommendations from an NIH workshop Exit Disclaimer. Genet Epidemiol. 2011; 35: 217—225.

Fuemmeler BF, Agurs-Collins T et al. Genes implicated in serotonergic and dopaminergic functioning predict BMI categories. Obesity. 2008; 16: 348-355.

Fuemmeler BF, Agurs-Collins T, McClernon FJ, Kollins SH, Garrett ME, Ashley-Koch AE. Interactions between genotype and depressive symptoms on obesity. Behav Genet. 2009; 39(3):296-305.

IOM Reports

Implications of Genomics for Public Health. Workshop Summary Exit Disclaimer, Institute of Medicine 2005.

Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment: Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate Exit Disclaimer, Institute of Medicine 2006.

Nutrigenomics and Beyond: Informing the Future Workshop Summary Exit Disclaimer, Institute of Medicine 2007.