Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Exploring the interplay of social and genetic factors influencing puberty timing

Principal Investigator: Dr Nicola Barban
Approved Research ID: 49691
Approval date: January 31st 2020

Lay summary

Age at menarche is a marker of biological maturity for girls that has been associated with several indicators of economic development. Although puberty is highly regulated by genetics, this is not sufficient to explain the dramatic fall in pubertal timing occurred in the last century worldwide. A first implication of this change is the consequent extension of the reproductive lifespan. At the same time, early pubertal timing has been associated with higher risk of diseases, such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer. It is therefore important to focus on the causes of this rapid change that at the societal level have not yet been fully understood. This research will fill the gap by studying the social and genetic factors affecting puberty timing by analysing the UKBiobank dataset, spanning from cohorts born in the '30s to the '70s in the UK, and combining for the first time environmental and genetic information.