'Imprinted' genes influence the age at which girls reach sexual maturity, a new study reveals. Imprinted genes are a small subset of genes and their activity differs depending on whether the mother or the father passes on that gene.
Some genes are only effective when inherited from the
mother, others are only active when inherited from the father.
Researchers noted that both types of imprinted genes were
identified as determining puberty age in girls, implying a possible biological
conflict between the parents over their child's growth rate.
"By analyzing genetic factors, we hope to better
understand how puberty timing in girls is related to important health
conditions in women," said Joanne Murabito, an associate professor of
medicine at Boston University's School of Medicine.
The new findings come from an international research of more
than 180,000 women involving scientists from 166 reputed institutions
The scientists identified 123 genetic variations that were
correlated to the timing of when girls experienced their first menstrual cycle.
Six among the genetic variations were found to be clustered
within "imprinted" regions of the genome.
"This is the first time that it has been proved that
imprinted genes are able to control rate of development after birth,"
The research appeared in the journal Nature