No two people are exactly alike, their face morphology differs, and they have a unique story to tell. The researchers are now providing new information on the reasons why people have unique faces. The researchers believe that human face is like a finger print totally different from others and never the same.

Unique facial morphology

The researchers admit that facial morphology is very unique and distinct, in the same way as a fingerprint of an individual is different from another. The craniofacial development depends on the regulatory DNA sequences say the researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). These gene enhancers have the capability of turning-on and can amplify the appearance rendered by a specific gene says the new study.

The research study

It’s the genetics and the DNA that influences and fine tunes the similarities between children in the same family and their likeness to their parents. It’s the genes that are responsible for making siblings look unlike other unrelated people.

The leader of the study, Axel Visel, a geneticist with Berkeley Lab’s Genomics Division “Our results suggest it is likely there are thousands of enhancers in the human genome that are somehow involved in craniofacial development. We don’t know yet what all of these enhancers do, but we do know that they are out there and they are important for craniofacial development.”

Generally the normal craniofacial variations are because of the genetic drivers, an extensive knowledge in this field is still under research though the facts of genetic defects like cleft palate and cleft lip are in the knowledge of the researchers.

The researchers are well aware tthat gene enhancers are capable of altering the craniofacial development by influencing and changing the base pairs. For this the experts got some transgenic mice.The paper mentioning this phenomenon termed as “Fine Tuning of Craniofacial Morphology by Distant-Acting Enhancers” is mentioned in the journal Science and its lead author is Catia Attanasio.

Catia Attanasio states that “We used a combination of epigenomic profiling, in vivo characterization of candidate enhancer sequences, and targeted deletion experiments to examine the role of distant-acting enhancers in the craniofacial development of our mice. This enabled us to identify complex regulatory landscapes, consisting of enhancers that drive spatially complex developmental expression patterns. Analysis of mouse lines in which individual craniofacial enhancers had been deleted revealed significant alterations of craniofacial shape, demonstrating the functional importance of enhancers in defining face and skull morphology.”

The study implications

Ultimately Visel, Attanasio and his team have managed to identify nearly 4000 candidate enhancer sequences that are responsible for the gene expression. They prepared genome wide-maps that pin point the location of the enhancers in the genome of the mice. Activity of nearly 200 gene enhancers has been tracked in detail by the researchers and they have removed about 3 from the list.

As a final call Visel states “Knowing about the existence of these enhancers, which are inherited from parents to their children just like genes, knowing their exact location in the human genome, and knowing their general activity pattern in craniofacial development should facilitate a better understanding of the connection between genetics and human craniofacial morphology,” so now maybe the researchers get a clearer insight into genetic mutations.

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