Scientists Spot Genes Tied to Puberty, Body Fat in
SUNDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have pinpointed
30 genes that control the timing of puberty in females. They also
believe many of these genes also play a role in body weight
regulation or fat metabolism.
The international team of researchers analyzed 32 genome-wide
association studies that included more than 87,000 women from
Australia, Europe and the United States. Thet then performed
replication studies in another group of almost 15,000 women.
In addition to the two genes already known to play a role in the
timing of puberty, the team identified 30 new genes and suggestive
evidence for another 10 genes.
The newly identified genes include four that have previously
been associated with body mass index (a clinical measure of
ewight), three that play a role in metabolism, and three that play
a role in hormone regulation, according to the report, which is
scheduled to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal
"Our study found genes involved in hormone regulation, cell development and other biological pathways associated with mechanisms age at menarche [onset of first menstruation], which shows that the timing of puberty is controlled by a complex range of biological processes," senior author Dr. Joanne Murabito, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
"Several of the genes for menarche have been associated with body weight and obesity in other studies suggesting some women may have a genetic susceptibility to weight gain and early puberty," she added. "It is important to understand that these 'genetic factors' can be modified by changes in lifestyle. Efforts to reduce or prevent childhood obesity should in turn help reduce the early onset of puberty in girls."
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development has more about
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