01 February 2005


Scientists have just discovered a gene aptly called the KiSS-1 gene which apparently triggers the onset of puberty by producing a protein called kisspeptin in the brain. The kisspeptin in turn, initiates the urge of adolescents to reproduce.

I'm not pulling your leg.

Gene That Decides When The Kissing May Start
By Mark Henderson

PUBERTY starts with a kiss: scientists have discovered that the cascade of hormones that brings sexual maturity is triggered by a gene named KiSS-1.

The aptly named gene, which generates a protein known as kisspeptin, is suddently switched on in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus at just the moment when puberty begins, according to new research in the United States.

It then appears to send a signal to another important gene, called GPR54, which in turn tells the body to start making the hormones that initiate adulthood.

The discovery of this chain of genetic signals helps to solve one of the longest-standing mysteries of biology: how it is that people are born with the full repertoire of reproductive hormones, but that these then hibernate through childhood to be reawoken at puberty.

It appears that the KiSS-1 gene works on a timer switch to initiate adult sexual development, the study suggests. It is unlikely, however, to act alone: the researchers believe that other genes, as yet unidentified, also play important roles.

The findings, which are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could eventually lead to medical treatments that could prevent exceptionally early or late puberty.

[TIMES Online]

I have also been puzzled as to what puts the reproduction trigger on hold or on hibernation mode during childhood, and what triggers the pubertal onset. This discovery sheds light on a possible orchestration genes and target receptors to commence the greatest biologic reason of why our species continue to survive.

Like the scientists, I believe that there are other undiscovered genes and proteins which probably act in confluence with this KiSS-1 gene to initiate puberty. Life is one big orchestra and every member must play in harmony.....otherwise, everything gets messed up.

I also think that the KiSS gene is what separates the adult phase from the childhood phase. Arresting the action of this gene might result in prolonged childhood. Conversely, an early induction might explain the precocious pubertal conditions we see in some of our patients.

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