Behavioral Genetics

HBRB researchers are looking to genes for cues on how to develop more effective weight-loss treatment plans.

Obesity is a complex, multifaceted disease that is influenced by genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. While weight-loss interventions based on lifestyle and behaviors, such as diet and physical activity, have generally been shown to cause improvements in body composition, differences between people can make them respond to these obesity treatments in different ways. Evidence suggests that genes and the mechanisms that regulate their expression contribute to this variability in responses.

HBRB’s Behavioral Genetics initiative aims to understand the complex interplay of genes and behaviors as one approach to identifying predictors of treatment response to behavioral weight loss interventions. Specific areas of interest include gene x macronutrient profiles and gene x intervention interactions that contribute to variability in response to obesity treatment. The goal is to use new genetic discoveries to develop precision-medicine approaches to making people’s weight-loss efforts more successful.


Trans-NIH Consortium: Randomized Controlled Trials of Lifestyle Weight Loss Interventions for Genome-Wide Association Studies

Reports and Publications

Bray MS, Loos RJ, McCaffery JM, Ling C, Franks PW, Weinstock GM, Snyder MP, Vassy JL, Agurs-Collins T; Conference Working Group. NIH working group report-using genomic information to guide weight management: From universal to precision treatment. Obesity. 2016; 24(1):14-22.

IOM Reports

Nutrigenomics and the Future of Nutrition: Proceedings of a Workshop — in Brief Exit Disclaimer (2018)

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Last Updated
March 08, 2021