Thirty genes that play an important role in determining the time of sexual maturation in females have been found by researchers. Many of these genes also play an important role in weight control.

Thirty two genome-wide association studies that covered about 87,000 from Australia, Europe and the United States were analyzed by an international team of researchers and replicated on about 15,000 women.

Earlier studies have pointed out only two genes involved in the timing of puberty. The current research has identified 30 genes and has also offered evidence for another 10.

Four of the ones that have been pointed out currently are associated with body mass index. Three of them play an active role in rate of metabolism and three others play a role in regulating the hormones in the body.

"Our study found genes involved in hormone regulation, cell development and other biological pathways associated with mechanisms age at menarche [onset of first menstruation], which shows that the timing of puberty is controlled by a complex range of biological processes," senior author Dr. Joanne Murabito, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said.

"Several of the genes for menarche have been associated with body weight and obesity in other studies suggesting some women may have a genetic susceptibility to weight gain and early puberty," she added. "It is important to understand that these 'genetic factors' can be modified by changes in lifestyle. Efforts to reduce or prevent childhood obesity should in turn help reduce the early onset of puberty in girls."