Study finds genes that influence the start of menstruation

May 30, 2009

Two scientists at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife are part of an international team of investigators that has identified genes that influence the start of menstruation, a milestone of female reproductive health that has lifelong influences on overall health. The breakthrough was published online in Nature Genetics, one of the world's leading scientific journals.

Using several population studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 17,500 women to determine when menarche, the start of menstruation, begins, typically around age 13 or two years after the onset of puberty.

This study provides the first evidence of common genetic variants that influence the normal variation in the timing of female sexual maturation. The researchers say these findings are significant because girls with an earlier age at menarche tend to have a greater (BMI) and more body fat than girls who begin menstruating at a later age. In addition, one of the genes is located in a region that influences adult height.

"As earlier age at menarche is associated with shorter stature and obesity later in life, the identified variants may not only clarify the genetic control of female sexual maturation, but may also point to regulatory mechanisms involved in normal human growth and obesity," wrote the scientists, who included Douglas Kiel, M.D., M.P.H., the Institute for Aging Research's director of medical research, and David Karasik, Ph.D., director of its Genetic Epidemiology Program.

Genome-wide association studies have successfully identified many genetic variants associated with multiple diseases and traits such as height and skin color, so the researchers used a similar approach to identify genes involved in determining at menarche.

Source: Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists provide insight into genetic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders

July 21, 2017
A study by scientists at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) is providing insight into the genetic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders. In this research, the first mouse model of a mutation ...

Scientists identify new way cells turn off genes

July 19, 2017
Cells have more than one trick up their sleeve for controlling certain genes that regulate fetal growth and development.

South Asian genomes could be boon for disease research, scientists say

July 18, 2017
The Indian subcontinent's massive population is nearing 1.5 billion according to recent accounts. But that population is far from monolithic; it's made up of nearly 5,000 well-defined sub-groups, making the region one of ...

Mutant yeast reveals details of the aberrant genomic machinery of children's high-grade gliomas

July 18, 2017
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital biologists have used engineered yeast cells to discover how a mutation that is frequently found in pediatric brain tumor high-grade glioma triggers a cascade of genomic malfunctions.

Late-breaking mutations may play an important role in autism

July 17, 2017
A study of nearly 6,000 families, combining three genetic sequencing technologies, finds that mutations that occur after conception play an important role in autism. A team led by investigators at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Newly identified genetic marker may help detect high-risk flu patients

July 17, 2017
Researchers have discovered an inherited genetic variation that may help identify patients at elevated risk for severe, potentially fatal influenza infections. The scientists have also linked the gene variant to a mechanism ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.