Scientists discover the Couch Potato gene

couch potato Scientists discover the Couch Potato gene

A group of researchers, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, have mapped out 23 specific chromosomal locations that account for 84% of the behavioral differences between low activity (see lazy) mice and high activity mice (see type A super achievers) – sorry, no human tests yet.

Link to Study # 1

Link to Study # 2

Initially, the researchers thought that the difference between the lazy and active mice was due to a genetic effect on the way energy is used by the muscle tissue.

This was proven false. Okay then, moving on.

This led the researchers to look at how genetic differences in brain chemistry might be causing this propensity towards laziness.


The Studies

The first thing the researchers did was to interbreed the active mice with the lazy mice. Then, they tested the offspring of this ‘unholy union’ for activity using three measurements – speed, endurance and distance.

Genetic tests were performed on the mice and strong correlations were found between the differences in the their genomes and their test results. In fact, the scientists identified 23 genes that were shown to affect activity levels.

While, the scientists have no idea what these genes are doing to cause these differences in activity level, they know that there is a link.

So what does this mean?

This may mean that while some people may be genetically predisposed to enjoy exercise, others may be genetically predisposed to glue their butts to the couch and watch re-runs of Murder She Wrote until they fall asleep in a Doritos induced slumber.

How depressing.



Thanks in Advance.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Pingback: Vancouver Health News | The Science Behind Couch Potato Syndrome - Vancouver Health News

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

    July 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Now I have an excuse, it’s genetic. Hopefully they will come up with name soon such as “Homer’s Syndrome”. Can a drug be far behind?

    Thanks for the post

  3. Gabrielle

    July 18, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Another double take aimed at the genetics feild

  4. totaltransformation

    July 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Yeah, they could at least watch a better T.V. show than Murder She Wrote. HA!

    BTW, my post on Traineo, Gyminee, and SparkPeople is up. Feel free to link to it or repost if you like it.