For example, the gene CADM2, which controls brain activity and also has strong effects on whether we regard ourselves to be risk-takers.We discovered that this gene was also associated with losing your virginity early and having a higher number of children throughout life.As far as big life decisions go, choosing when to lose your virginity or the best time start a family are probably right up there for most people.
In this way, we have in a number of studies identified more than 100 such variants, each modifying puberty timing by just a few weeks. We now understand that both nature and nurture play a roughly equal role in regulating the timing of puberty.
For example, studies have consistently shown that obesity and excessive nutrition in children can cause an early onset of puberty.
At this point, chemical messengers secreted from the brain begin a cascade of events, leading to the production of sex hormones and reproductive maturity.
Human genetics studies have identified many genes that are linked to individual differences in the onset of puberty.
One category is genes with known roles in other aspects of reproductive biology and pubertal development, such as the oestrogen receptors, a group of proteins found on cells in the reproductive tract and also in behaviour control centres of the brain.