Our Research

Our Research

Rhythm’s translational research efforts are focused on deepening the understanding of melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) pathway-related rare genetic diseases of obesity.

Rhythm’s approach to these diseases is built upon a foundational DNA sequencing infrastructure with de-identified samples from more than 45,000 individuals living with severe obesity, believed to be one of the largest databases of its kind. Importantly, this unique resource fuels Rhythm’s focus and understanding of rare genetic diseases of obesity caused by deficiencies within the MC4R pathway, which are distinct from general obesity.

Rhythm’s DNA Sequencing Data

Genetic testing can play an important role in diagnosing many rare genetic diseases of obesity; however some can be diagnosed by clinical features alone (e.g., Bardet-Biedl syndrome). By deepening understanding of the genetics that contribute to severe obesity, we aim to identify certain populations living with rare genetic diseases of obesity that may benefit from targeted therapies. 

The Rhythm database enables the detection of gene variants that may contribute to the manifestation of rare genetic diseases of obesity. To help further clarify the clinical significance of these genetic data, we deploy a battery of translational research strategies, including large-scale biochemical screening studies and genetic epidemiological analyses to understand the functional and clinical relevance of observed variants. 

We know variants in genes associated with the MC4R pathway can impair the function of that pathway and result in rare genetic diseases of obesity. Our team has identified more than 100 genes with potential ties to the MC4R pathway. By utilizing a scoring system adapted from National Institutes of Health ClinGen gene-disease clinical validity framework, we rank ordered these genes and relevance to the function of the MC4R pathway.

Rhythm’s Uncovering Rare Obesity® Program is a no-cost, comprehensive genetic testing program for rare genetic diseases of obesity. 

Rhythm’s Uncovering Rare Obesity gene panel includes 79 genes and one chromosome region, reflective of nearly all of the most frequently tested genes associated with obesity. It is not a test for Prader-Willi syndrome.

Learn More →