Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scent Of Father Checks Daughter's Maturity

Date:
September 14, 2006
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Chemical cues from fathers may be delaying the onset of sexual maturity in daughters, as part of an evolutionary strategy to prevent inbreeding, according to researchers at Penn State.

Chemical cues from fathers may be delaying the onset of sexual maturity in daughters, as part of an evolutionary strategy to prevent inbreeding, according to researchers at Penn State.

Related Articles


"Biological fathers send out inhibitory chemical signals to their daughters," said Robert Matchock, assistant professor of psychology at Penn State's Altoona Campus. "In the absence of these signals, girls tend to sexually mature earlier."

The effect of chemical cues on sexual maturity is common in the animal world, Matchock explained. If the biological father is removed from rodent families, the daughters tend to mature faster, he said.

"Recently, experts elsewhere discovered a little-known pheromone receptor gene in the human olfactory system, linking the role of pheromones on menarche, or the first occurrence of menstruation," said Matchock, whose findings are published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Human Biology.

Researchers, including Elizabeth Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, collected menarcheal data from 1,938 college students to explore the link between girls' social environment and their sexual maturity. The data included information on factors such as the girls' family size, social environment, and how long the father had been absent.

"Our results indicate that girls without fathers matured approximately three months before girls whose fathers were present," Matchock said, adding that the data seem to suggest a relationship between length of the father's absence and age of menarche -- the earlier the absence, the earlier the menarche.

Results from the study additionally suggest that the presence of half and step-brothers was also linked to earlier menarche. Girls living in an urban environment also had earlier menarche compared to girls in a rural environment, even when fathers were present for both groups, and had similar levels of education.

Matchock speculates that urban environments provide greater opportunities to get away from parents' inhibitory pheromones, and encounter attracting pheromones from unrelated members of the opposite sex.

"It is possible that a stimulating urban environment can negate suppressive cues from parents," he added.

Taken together, the Penn State researcher says the study is not a human anomaly but an explanation of how pheromonal cues modulate sexual maturity, to enhance mating and prevent inbreeding.

"Prevention of inbreeding is so crucial to successfully spread healthy genes that anti-inbreeding strategies such as the use of pheromones seem to be conserved across species," he added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Scent Of Father Checks Daughter's Maturity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914154031.htm>.
Penn State. (2006, September 14). Scent Of Father Checks Daughter's Maturity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914154031.htm
Penn State. "Scent Of Father Checks Daughter's Maturity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914154031.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins