Chromosome 16 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. People normally have two copies of this chromosome. Chromosome 16 spans about 90 million base pairs (the building material of DNA) and represents just under 3% of the total DNA in cells.
Identifying genes on each chromosome is an active area of genetic research. Because researchers use different approaches to predict the number of genes on each chromosome, the estimated number of genes varies. Chromosome 16 probably contains between 850 and 1,200 genes.
In February 2010, a new cause of obesity due to a microdeletion on chromosome 16 was announced. It may explain about 1% of obesity cases. This research was carried out by Professor Froguel, a CNRS researcher, in Lille, and others at Imperial College in London and Vaudois University and was published in Nature on February 4, 2010. This defect was identified using DNA microarrays and it leads to the suppression of about thirty genes in one region of chromosome 16. Research showed that this microdeletion is relatively common in obese people but lacking in most non-obese people.