Genes haven’t changed in the past 40 years but the environment has and there’s no doubt it’s played a big role in the obesity epidemic.
Targeted research at ethnic groups in this part of the world is scarce but some preliminary analyses show Māori and Pacific people don't have the same frequency of the common obesity gene, called FTO, as was discovered in multiple populations around the world.
Finding those differences in ethnic groups is important to narrowing down the actual causal gene, so that health care can eventually be planned more effectively to prevent disparities widening for ethnic minorities.
But with the developments in technology comes the potential for abuse and the possibility of a genetic arms race or unethical genetic enhancement.
BBC 4 science presenter and geneticists Dr Adam Rutherford talks about what DNA sequencing means for medical genetics and epigenetics with scientists in Auckland.
- Dr Don Love, Director of Diagnostic Genetics, Auckland City Hospital
- Dr Rinki Murphy, Endocrinologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland
- Professor Cristin Print of the Bioinformatics Institute at the University of Auckland.
This audio was recorded in Auckland at the Museum Events Centre on 22 March 2016.