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Behavioral Genetics Laboratory

Research in the Behavioral Genetics Laboratory is focused on the genetics of complex traits, primarily obesity and related diseases, including type-2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. The lab has a large archive of DNA, cell lines, and plasma collected from individuals in families segregating obesity and thinness, as well as obese cases and normal weight controls. These materials are being used in linkage and linkage disequilibrium association studies aimed at identifying and characterizing genes influencing common forms of human obesity.

R. Arlen Price, Ph.D., Professor
Wei-Dong Li, M.D., Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor

Current projects:
1. An NIH funded study aimed at identifying obesity related genes on chromosome 12. (R. Arlen Price, PI)

2. A collaborative study with Eli Lilly of genes that influence both common obesity and drug induced weight gain. (R. Arlen Price, PI)

3. A Scientist Development award from the American Heart Association with a research project focused on genes influencing serum lipids in obesity. (Wei-Dong Li, PI)

Recent Research Findings:
We reported an association between extreme obesity and attempted suicide.
Dong C., Li WD., Li D., Price RA.: Extreme obesity is associated with attempted suicides: results from a family study. International Journal of Obesity 30(2): 388-90, Feb 2006.

We identified possible genomic imprinting of three obesity related loci.
Dong C., Li WD., Geller F., Lei L., Li D., Gorlova OY., Hebebrand J., Amos CI., Nicholls RD., Price RA.: Possible genomic imprinting of three human obesity-related genetic loci. American Journal of Human Genetics 76(3): 427-37, Mar 2005.

In a whole-genome scan we identified an obesity related locus on chromosome 12.
Li, W-D, Dong, C, Li, D, Zhao, H, Price, RA.: An obesity related locus in chromosome region 12q22-23. Diabetes Vol. 53: 812-820, 2004.

We identified common gene interactions in obesity.
Dong, C, Wang, S, Li, W-D, Li, D, Zhao, H, Price, RA. : Interacting genetic loci on chromosomes 20 and 10 influence extreme human obesity. American Journal of Human Genetics Vol. 72: 115-124, 2003.

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