U.S. researchers say there really is a "skinny gene," according to a report Canada's Globe and Mail.
And they are are hoping that by "turning up the volume" on that gene they may be able to change the way the body burns fat and packs on pounds.
The researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say the discovery could lead to drug therapy that prevents obesity and diabetes.
"There's a skinny gene out there, and when it's reduced in function, animals become fat," said Jonathan Graff, the study's senior author and a professor of developmental biology and internal medicine at the medical center.
The study, published in this week's issue of Cell Metabolism, is based on research conducted during a five-year period and involved isolating and stimulating the adipose gene in mice, fruit flies and tiny worms.