Wellcome Trust Blog

A Finnish child with braces. Image credit: Kirsi Sipila and Raija Lahdesmaki from the University of Oulu

We hear a lot of about genome-wide association studies (GWAS) these days, but not so much about teeth. However, as those who’ve had to wear braces will testify, tooth abnormalities are a common occurrence and are perhaps the most common developmental anomaly in humans. Teeth largely acquire their final form at a very early age and researchers estimate that the age at which your first tooth appears is 70 per cent heritable.

So it was with much interest when in February, PLoS Genetics published the first large-scale genetic study of tooth development in young children. The results offer much for scientists to get their teeth into (sorry).

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