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Scientists use facial scans to discover 5 genes that impact nose shape

Posted May 26

If you could genetically design your child before birth, would you? That question seems to be getting closer and closer to reality these days.

Scientists have discovered five genes that impact nose shape in a study that involved scans of facial features of more than 6,000 Latin American volunteers, according to the Washington Post. Their findings were posted in Nature Communications this week.

According to the study, the sample of volunteers were estimated as 50 percent European, 45 percent Native American and five percent African.

Researchers measured nose-bridge breadth, nose-wing breadth, and columella inclination of the nose and found they were associated with genes known as DCHs2, RUNX2, GLI3, PAX1, and EDAR, reported the Washington Post. These genes also appear to influence many other characteristics of the human face.

Not only will identifying these genes help in eventually modifying these genes, but they also help our understanding of human evolution.

“Physical anthropologists [have] long used this variation to examine human population diversification, including the possibility that these features have been influenced by adaption to the environment," wrote co-authors Kaustubh Adhikari and Macarena Fuentes-Guajardo. "It has also been proposed that the diversity of human faces could have evolved partly to facilitate individual recognition, a key aspect of social interaction."

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