http://www.physorg.com/news5784.html

August 12, 2005

MIT researchers have identified a gene that helps control the balance between bone and fat in the human body, a discovery that could pave the way for the prevention of childhood obesity and the treatment of osteoporosis.

The findings will be published in the Aug. 12 issue of Science.

Researchers at MIT's Center for Cancer Research found that a gene called TAZ works to control the destiny of adult bone marrow stem cells, also known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs have the potential to form a number of different cell types, including bone, fat and muscle.