Scientists Discover An Obesity 'Master Switch'

A half-billion people on the planet, or 1 in 10, are obese, and despite Beyoncé's best efforts, that number is growing. Many of them will go on to develop obesity-linked illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes. But the dotted line between the two has never been fully understood — until now. Scientists in England have isolated the gene that acts as the body's "master switch."

Studying 20,000 genes in fat samples taken from 800 pairs of female twins, the researchers discovered that KLF14 (uh huh uh huh), a gene present in fat tissue, connects "changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions."

What this doesn't mean, however, is that its presence suggests a predisposition to obesity, or that targeting KLF14 would somehow reverse it. Obesity is still primarily caused by sitting around and consuming vast amounts of calories, and still treated by doing the opposite of that. So set that cupcake-gobbling master switch to "off," people. [Reuters, photo via Shutterstock]