Jun 19, 2009 - Anything & Everything, Health & Fitness    No Comments    24,386 views

Why are some people born very short?

[Editor: The other day a petite friend was complaining about how she dislikes her height and wishes there was no such thing as short people in the world. Personally I felt that was a sad wish to make and did not want it to come true. At this point, you might be asking ‘why?’ Well, what would happen to all the cute people in the world?!
Short people tend to be cute and I happen to like cuteness very much! It brings fuzzy-warm-pleasant feelings, and being greeted by the sight of cute people and things can even make a person feel happy. Don’t you sometimes find yourself smiling when you see anything adorably small and cute? I like my petite and short friend just the way she is- cute, adorable and attractive in that way! I only hope she feels the same way too, soon. As for getting to those hard-to-reach places high up, she can always count on me (and others) to help her. I mean, who can possibly say ‘No’ to cute people right? Everything works out in the end ;) .]

Hereditary and environmental factors are what determine whether a person is short or tall.
There are as many as 20 genes that make a person short or tall.
Examples include the genes for bone proportion and the genes for the timing of the release of hormones that encourage growth.

Environmental factors play a large part as well. For example, the Chinese today is much taller than the Chinese 50 years ago. This is largely due to the nutrition the Chinese today are getting.
It also helps that pregnant mothers today are receiving better health care than before.

1. Newton/ANL. Retrieved May 21, 2009, from Genetics and height Web site: www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mole00/mole00125.htm

2. Starr, B Height hopes. Retrieved May 21, 2009, from Understanding genetics Web site: www.thetech.org/genetics/news.php?id=60

If you want to read more on the topic, here are books that you can check out at our library.

Image source: www.masoncrest.com/series_view.php?seriesID=18

How genetics and environment shape us : the destined body by William Hunter
Publisher: Philadelphia, Pa. : Mason Crest Publishers, c2006
Call No.: Y 616.398042 HUN

Image source: www.webster.it/book_usa-genomes_and_what_to_make-9780226172958.htm

Genomes and what to make of them by Barry Barnes
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : University of Chicago Press, 2008
Call No.: 572.86 BAR

All websites are last accessed on May 2009. Please refer to the terms and conditions on the homepages for use.
For the availability of the above book titles, please check the library catalogue.

Originally Answered by Ms Verena Lee
Librarian, Children’s Services

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