Researchers have found that genes are a factor on ones propensity to be obese after finding 18 gene variants that are linked to obesity.

The scientists from Cambridge University and Oxford University identified 13 gene variants that appear to direct fat to the belly or thighs.

According to the researchers, the more gene variants one has the more likely one is to become obese.

"We have made a big leap forward in identifying new gene variations that contribute to the susceptibility to obesity and susceptibility to store fat more on your hips or more on your waist," said lead researcher Ruth Loos, head in the Genetic Aetiology of Obesity Program in the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge.

The genes however cannot be used to predict whether an individual will become obese or not. So far only the fact that genes are linked to obesity was determined but it is not yet known how these genes function in developing a vulnerability to obesity.

"It's going to take years before these new discoveries will develop into new interventions,” Loss added.

The average individual has between 28 to 32 gene variants which can be inherited from the mother and father. An individual can have up to 64 gene variants.

The study appears in October 10 edition of Nature Genetics.