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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 307542, 7 pages
Research Article

Associations of FTO and MC4R Variants with Obesity Traits in Indians and the Role of Rural/Urban Environment as a Possible Effect Modifier

1School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK
2MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
3Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Hyderabad, India
4Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
5Bloomsbury Centre for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics, London WC1E 6BT, UK
6South Asia Network for Chronic Disease, Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi 110 016, India
7Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi 110 016, India
8Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi 110 016, India

Received 2 December 2010; Accepted 4 March 2011

Academic Editor: Yvon Chagnon

Copyright © 2011 A. E. Taylor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Few studies have investigated the association between genetic variation and obesity traits in Indian populations or the role of environmental factors as modifiers of these relationships. In the context of rapid urbanisation, resulting in significant lifestyle changes, understanding the aetiology of obesity is important. We investigated associations of FTO and MC4R variants with obesity traits in 3390 sibling pairs from four Indian cities, most of whom were discordant for current dwelling (rural or urban). The FTO variant rs9939609 predicted increased weight (0.09 Z-scores, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.15) and BMI (0.08 Z-scores, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.14). The MC4R variant rs17782313 was weakly associated with weight and hip circumference ( 𝑃 < . 0 5 ). There was some indication that the association between FTO and weight was stronger in urban than that in rural dwellers ( 𝑃 for interaction = .03), but no evidence for effect modification by diet or physical activity. Further studies are needed to investigate ways in which urban environment may modify genetic risk of obesity.