'Fat gene' associated with PCOS

Women's fertility could be damaged by a 'fat gene', according to new research.

A study conducted at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London highlighted that the inherited gene, FTO, which increases the risk of obesity, could also lead to a higher chance of polycystic ovaries.

During the course of the UK-based study, lead researcher Dr Tom Barber and his colleagues examined the type of FTO gene carried by 463 patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and 1,336 other women.

It was noted that women who had PCOS were significantly more likely to have a certain version of the gene, especially those who were overweight.

"PCOS is an incredibly common condition affecting one in ten women of reproductive age and is a leading cause of infertility," commented Dr Barber.

"These data provide the first genetic evidence to corroborate the well documented association between these two conditions," he added.

Women who were overweight could decrease their chances of developing the condition by losing even a small amount of weight, the team states.

According to the charity PCOS UK, five to ten per cent of women of childbearing age have PCOS.