Four Genes that Program the Shape of Human Nose

It is well known that we get most of our external characteristics from our parents. The shape of your nose is one of the traits that were passed to you from your parent. But which genes mainly determine the shape of your nose was poorly understood until last year.

Last year, scientists pinpointed the genes that affect the shape of the nose and reported their findings in the journals Nature Communications. The researchers examined 6,000 people from Latin America of different ancestry (50 percent European, 45 percent America, and 5 percent African). Nearly 3,000 people got their faces scanned to determine exact facial proportions. In the end, the researchers looked at 14 different facial features. The features were then compared with full individuals’ genome to find any responsible gene.

The team discovered four genes that determine how human noses are shapedparticularly, the “pointiness and width. A gene known as GLI3 strongly affects the width of the nostril. The PAX1 gene also affects nostril width, but to a lesser extent. The gene DCH2 was shown to affect nasal pointiness, resulting in a “button nose.” The cartilage growth is controlled by the three genes. RUNX2, the fourth gene, controls bone growth and the width of the nose bridge.



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