POLAR bears may hold the answer to the obesity crisis, new research has shown.

A study of the animal's DNA reveals it is uniquely evolved to cope with a high fat diet that would prove disastrous to a human.

Half the bears' body weight consists of fat and their cholesterol levels are sky high because of their diet of blubber-rich seals, and whale carcasses and yet they are untroubled by heart disease.

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Now scientists at the University of California believe they have uncovered the polar bear's secret - mutated genes involved in fatty acid metabolism and cardiovascular function. The genes appear to be crucial to the bears' adaptation to extreme conditions in the high Arctic and may explain how they avoid clogged arteries. The scientists hope understanding how they work will help them find new ways to fight human obesity.