The prevalence of obesity has tripled over the past four decades, imposing an enormous burden on people’s health. Polygenic (or common) obesity and rare, severe, early-onset monogenic obesity are often polarized as distinct diseases. However, gene discovery studies for both forms of obesity show that they have shared genetic and biological underpinnings, pointing to a key role for the brain in the control of body weight. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) with increasing sample sizes and advances in sequencing technology are the main drivers behind a recent flurry of new discoveries. However, it is the post-GWAS, cross-disciplinary collaborations, which combine new omics technologies and analytical approaches, that have started to facilitate translation of genetic loci into meaningful biology and new avenues for treatment.