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Genome-wide association studies have identified 32 loci influencing body mass index, but this measure does not distinguish lean from fat mass. To identify adiposity loci, we meta-analyzed associations between ∼2.5 million SNPs and body fat percentage from 36,626 individuals and followed up the 14 most significant (P < 10(-6)) independent loci in 39,576 individuals. We confirmed a previously established adiposity locus in FTO (P = 3 × 10(-26)) and identified two new loci associated with body fat percentage, one near IRS1 (P = 4 × 10(-11)) and one near SPRY2 (P = 3 × 10(-8)). Both loci contain genes with potential links to adipocyte physiology. Notably, the body-fat-decreasing allele near IRS1 is associated with decreased IRS1 expression and with an impaired metabolic profile, including an increased visceral to subcutaneous fat ratio, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease and decreased adiponectin levels. Our findings provide new insights into adiposity and insulin resistance.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature genetics

Publication Date





753 - 760


Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK.


Humans, Obesity, Body Weight, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Membrane Proteins, Body Mass Index, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Alleles, Female, Male, Subcutaneous Fat, Adiposity, Body Fat Distribution, Adiponectin, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Genetic Variation, Genome-Wide Association Study, Metabolome, Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins