Health Science and Technologies- CIRI, University of Bologna, Italy.
Background. Obesity is a major health problem in both developed and emerging countries. Obesity is a complex disease whose etiology involves genetic factors in strong interplay with environmental determinants and lifestyle. The discovery of genetic factors and biological pathways underlying human obesity is hampered by the difficulty in controlling the genetic background of human cohorts. Animal models are then necessary to further dissect the genetics of obesity. Pig has emerged as one of the most attractive models, because of the similarity with humans in the mechanisms regulating the fat deposition.
Results. We collected the genes related to obesity in humans and to fat deposition traits in pig. We localized them on both human and pig genomes, building a map useful to interpret comparative studies on obesity. We characterized the collected genes structurally and functionally with BAR+ and mapped them on KEGG pathways and on STRING protein interaction network.
Conclusions. The collected set consists of 361 obesity related genes in human and pig genomes. All genes were mapped on the human genome, and 54 could not be localized on the pig genome (release 2012). Only for 3 human genes there is no counterpart in pig, confirming that this animal is a good model for human obesity studies. Obesity related genes are mostly involved in regulation and signaling processes/pathways and relevant connection emerges between obesity-related genes and diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases.