A group of scientists managed to pin down the genes responsible for how noses look. It seems that different genes control the appearance of the nose, the chin protrusion, and even the color of the hair.
A team of genetic researchers at the College London University managed to locate the specific genes that decide the size and shape of noses. The lead author of the study, Kaustubh Adhikari, a developmental biologist, noted that:
“What we’ve found are specific genes which influence the shape and size of individual features, which hasn’t been seen before.”
In order to be sure that the genes they identified are indeed responsible for the size and shape of our noses, the team analyzed the DNA of approximately 6,000 individuals from Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. All of the participants reported having mixed ancestry five percent being African descendants, 45 percent Native Americans, and 40 percent European.
This incredible genetic diversity offered a broad mix of facial features with which the researchers were able to work.
The scientists found a total of four unique genes that affected the pointiness, width, and size of the olfactory organ. They also found an additional gene that seems to influence the protrusion on the chin.
According to Adhikari, there were few previous studies that focused on the development of facial features. And those that existed only included European individuals, which are far less diverse than the sample on which Adhikari and his team worked.
The findings are important because they could help researchers determine the evolution of human facial features. Moreover, it could prove useful for forensic investigators when they try to create the profile of a suspect.
The nose is important because it helps individuals regulate the temperature and humidity of the air that they breathe. Experts believed that the shape of the nose was determined by the environment in which humans evolved.
Andreas Ruiz-Linares, the co-author of the paper, explained that the nose of the Europeans, which is typically narrower than that of an average American, evolved that way in order to adapt to the dry, cold climate.
Ruiz-Linares added that by knowing the precise genes responsible for how noses look, doctors will be able to find the causes of facial abnormalities.
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