Kiss kick starts puberty

Researchers in the UK and France have discovered the genetic key that switches on puberty in boys and girls. Sophie Messager of Cambridge company Paradigm Therapeutics and colleagues at the University of Cambridge and the National Institute of Agronomy research in Nouzilly, France, demonstrate the role played by G protein-coupled receptor 54 (GPR54) and its kisspeptin ligand, also known as metastin, in the onset of puberty. The discovery parallels related work in the US on the gene for kisspeptin, Kiss-1. Research into the underlying biochemistry of puberty onset could lead to new therapies for children who fail to start normal puberty.