The private biotechnology and genomics company, 23andMe, launches their large-scale research project designed to test differences between people’s genetic makeup and how exercise and diet affect people differently.
The Mountain View company announced its plan to recruit a sample size of 100,000 participants from their overweight customer basis who have no significant health issues. The company wishes to understand how one’s environment, lifestyle and individual genetics influence body weight.
“We’d like to better understand the genetic, demographic, psychosocial and behavioral characteristics that predict weight loss success overall, and on different lifestyle interventions,” stated 23andMe’s lead scientist, Liana Del Gobbo. “This will help us begin to pave the way toward more personalized lifestyle recommendations.”
23andMe, founded in the year 2006 by a biologist named Linda Avey, an entrepreneur named Anne Wojcicki, and Paul Cusenze, business executive, name their 100,000-participant study “unprecedented” and explained that their research will investigate “the effectiveness of using different diets or exercise to lose weight.”
During the study, complete samples of participants’ DNA will be analyzed to discover variations between each collection of genes that have physical effects of exercise and diet.
According to the company, previous genetic research primarily focused on an individual’s body mass index which takes height, weight, and gender into account in order to quantify fat levels however no study explored “behavioral weight loss,” which mainly involves exercise and diet.
“This is important because the genetic variants that influence BMI may not be the same as those that influence weight loss,” 23andMe stated.
Based on the MIT Technology Review, participants chosen for the study will be existing customers who agree to take part in the study and will be assigned randomly to one out of three divisions. One study group will consume more fiber and less fat, one will follow a strict no carbohydrate diet, and the final group will continue their regular diets, however, include exercise.
“They’ll report back to the company about how often they have ‘cravings,’ whether they’re stressed, and if they succeed in following the diets,” the Technology Review announced. “The company thinks that people, on average, will have roughly the same results on all the plans.
What it may be able to figure out, though, is whether there are genetic or personal reasons why some individuals will end up losing 40 pounds, and others gaining 10, no matter which advice they follow” they added.