Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School, along with collaborators from research institutions across Europe and the United States, have for the first time identified two genes that are involved in determining when girls begin menstruation. The work will be published in Nature Genetics this weekend.
The findings of the study could have ramifications for normal human growth and weight too, because early-age menstruation is also associated with shorter stature and increased body weight. In general, girls who achieve menstruation earlier in life tend to have greater body mass index (BMI) and a higher ratio of fat compared to those who begin menstruation later.
The study carried out an analysis of 17,510 women across eight different international population-based sources. This number included women of European descent who reported the age at which they reached menstruation of between nine and 17 years.
The two genes identified were on chromosomes nine and six. One in 20 females carry two copies of each of the gene variations which result in menstruation starting earlier, and they will start menstruating approximately four and half months earlier than those with no copies of the gene variants.
Dr Anna Murray from the Peninsula Medical School, commented: "This study provides the first evidence that common genetic variants influence the time at which women reach sexual maturation. Our findings also indicate a genetic basis for the associations between early menstruation and both height and BMI."
She added: "The study takes us nearer to understanding the biology of the processes involved in puberty and early growth and to understand what constitutes 'normal' in growth and development."
Fellow author John Perry, also from the Peninsula Medical School, added: "Understanding the biological mechanisms behind reproductive lifespan may also help inform us about associated diseases that affect a lot of women as they get older, including diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer."
Andrew Gould | EurekAlert!
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering