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Obesity in Labradors may be all in the genes

Wednesday May 4th 2016

English scientists have found out why Labradors often face obesity issues - and it's all down to an overeating gene. Nearly one in four of them (23%) have a variation of the POMC gene.

This is linked to obesity that is related to hunger and weight, University of Cambridge researchers claim. They monitored 310 Labradors, the most commonly owned pooch in the US and UK, as part of the study.

The researchers also asked keepers about their Labradors' eating habits. Dogs with the POMC gene have been found to be typically 1.9kg heavier than those without it.

Eleanor Raffan, the study's lead author, says the presence of the POMC gene helps to explain just why this breed is more likely to be overweight compared to other dogs. Dr Raffan adds that this would also account for why many Labrador owners claim their animals have an obsessive relationship with eating.

The Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science believes the Labrador research could have a knock-on effect with people. This is because the same gene is found in humans too.

The Cell Metabolism journal published the report.

Copyright Press Association 2016