Researchers Sniff Out Nose Genes

It may be dainty, refined, beaky or bulbous.

But whatever the shape of your nose, its character is dictated by your genes.

The findings point to possible ways to reverse the loss of smell through age or disease. Credit:AP

Now British researchers have sniffed out the four genes that determine how wide, pointed or upturned they are.

The discovery helps us better understand how faces evolved and could contribute to forensic techniques that could build up facial profiles from DNA.

However, experts said it would not pave the way for nose modification for cosmetic reasons. Researchers from University College London studied 5,958 adults from South America with varied European, Native American and African heritage. Studying such a mixture helped pick out genes that affected the enormous variation in noses across human groups.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, found two genes affected how wide the bridge of the nose was, while another determined the width of the nose ‘wings’ – the area around the nostrils. A fourth gene was responsible for how pointed the end of the nose was – as well as the angle of the tip, how upturned it was and how far it protruded.

It has long been speculated that nose shape reflects the environment in which we evolved. For example, the comparatively narrower nose of Europeans is thought to be an adaptation to a cold climate.

Study leader Professor Andres Ruiz-Linares said the discovery provides ‘new tools’ to examine the question and help understand genetic disorders involving facial abnormalities. – Daily Mail

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