Yes, one of my initial weightloss goals is to lose enough fat so that I actually look like I lift weights.
Regarding genetics and obesity, I think the leptin story shows us that the genetic basis of obesity is much more complicated in humans than in mice, and the ultimate answers are more likely to come from the human genomic projects. I am not sure the US project included any obese individuals, but I am certain the Icelandic project does because they are sequencing ALL of the genes in the Icelandic population.
I see that they have already found a new "fat gene":
DeCode Finds A Fat Gene
Matthew Herper, 09.30.03, 1:36 PM ET
NEW YORK - DeCode Genetics announced this morning that it had found a gene linked to obesity, prompting a milestone payment from its partner Merck. The tiny Icelandic genomics company's shares shot up 15% to $4.90 in Nasdaq trading, even though neither the amount of the milestone payment nor much information about the gene was disclosed.
DeCode (nasdaq: DCGN - news - people ) said in its statement this morning that one form of the gene predisposed people to become fat, while another predisposed them to be thin. "Obesity and thinness are two sides of the same coin, and with our partners at Merck we are working to identify the best targets for therapeutic intervention within this pathway, as well as compounds that are effective against these targets," DeCode Chief Executive Kari Stefansson said in the statement. "This is an important step toward developing new drugs that can treat obesity, perhaps by utilizing the body's own mechanisms for promoting and maintaining thinness."
DeCode provided few further details about this discovery. That's not unusual. But more information may emerge at some point in the future. For example, DeCode last week published a paper describing a gene related to stroke in the scientific journal Nature Genetics. A similar paper on the fat gene may be in the works.
Finding the gene would be only the first step. Developing a drug based on genomics is no easy task. Millennium Pharmaceuticals (nasdaq: MLNM - news - people ) and Abbott Laboratories (nyse: ABT - news - people ) at one point were co-developing an obesity drug, but that product, MLN4760, apparently was mothballed. In August the two companies scrapped their alliance, which had been started in 2001 to use genomics to look for drugs to fight diabetes and obesity.
When Merck (nyse: MRK - news - people ) and DeCode announced their partnership in September 2002, the companies said the deal had a potential value of $90 million to DeCode even before royalties with new drugs are included. DeCode also has an alliance with computing giant IBM (nyse: IBM - news - people ) to sell gene-sleuthing software it developed.
Too bad the partner is Merck; I have no faith in their product safety.