Obesity is a multifactorial and heterogeneous condition that results from alterations of various genes, each having a partial and additive effect. The inheritance pattern of obesity is thus complex, and environmental factors play an important role in promoting or delaying its development. The identification of susceptibility genes and genetic variants for obesity requires various methodological approaches. Obesity is classified into three main categories on the basis of genetic etiology: monogenic, syndromic, and polygenic obesity. Here we review monogenic and syndromic obesity. We also review the linkage analysis studies followed by the candidate gene approaches and genome-wide association studies. Identification of the underlying genetic causes of obesity will likely provide a basis both for the development of new therapeutic agents and for the personalized prevention of this condition.
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