Puberty genes in women discovered

In a breakthrough research, scientists have discovered 30 new genes that control the age of sexual maturation in women.

Many of these genes are also known to act on body weight regulation or biological pathways related to fat metabolism.

Puberty is triggered after a child reaches a certain age - and the heavier the child, the earlier puberty occurs, possibly affecting risk of later disease.

Researchers at King`s College London`s Department of Twin Research also found genes involved in hormone regulation, cell development and other mechanisms linked to age at menarche (the onset of menstrual periods in women).

"It is fascinating how common genetic variants influence both early puberty and weight gain. The findings give us clues on how intricately linked are different biological processes," Nature quoted Massimo Mangino as saying.

Professor Tim Spector, Director of Twins UK cohort said, "This study shows the power of large genetic collaborations allowing us great insights into how puberty is triggered by precise amounts of body fat. Twin pairs are very similar for both puberty and body fat."

The study appears in the Journal Nature Genetics .