Tuesday, 24 May 2016

How we found the genes that control nose shape – and what they say about us

Including Which Genetic Stock You Sprang Forth From.
Whether we love it or hate it, there’s no getting away from the fact that the nose is the most protruding part of the face and one of our most distinguishable features. From tribal ornaments and oriental piercings to Hollywood nose jobs – it’s no wonder that humans throughout history have made such an effort to make this body part look good.
But the history of nose beauty ideals has been changeable and at times dark. For example, in early Europe the hooked “Roman” nose signified beauty and nobility. The Nazis on the other hand despised it and saw it as a characteristic of Jewish people. Even more broadly, Jews like Shakespeare’s Shylock typically ended up being portrayed with a hooked nose to represent evilness. But among all this murky pseudoscience, some biological facts and questions have remained obscured. For example, why is there such ethnic variation when it comes to nose shape? Our work, published in Nature Communications, has now begun to answer this question by identifying a number of genes associated with nose shape.

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