ACS: Katharine the gourmand

I have just worked out that, since saturday afternoon, all my meals have been sandwiches for one reason or another, although I almost ate a slice of cold pizza at one point, but didn’t want cheese-related nightmares so declined. I have broken the cycle now thanks to a chocolate croissant in the press room.

My mind turns to food because a major thread of this conference is the genomics of obesity. In particular I was interested to learn that human adenovirus-36, known to be the “obesity virus”, has now been shown to turn stem cells into fat cells. Magdalena Pasarica at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Nikhil Dhurandhar from Louisiana State university, took stem cells from the fatty tissue from a bunch of liposuction patients. Half of the batch of stem cells were exposed to Ad-36, and half not. The virus-infected stem cells developed into fat cells.

So does this mean, as long as I don’t get the virus, that I can happily eat my chocolate croissants without worry of becoming obese? Or am I missing the point?