About the episode
It all starts with a cell that divides and continues to divide until a complex organism is created. But at a certain point growth stops. For us humans, this happens during puberty. But why this actually happens is still not entirely clear.
It is also true that puberty changes. It starts earlier and earlier. For this reason also, investigating the growth mechanism is important. To understand this better, researchers have now studied the mechanism in fruit flies. These animals also go through a puberty-like metamorphosis.
In other animals, for example in a certain type of predatory insect, as well as insects, the stretch receptor detects the moment when a certain body size has been reached and the moment of stopping growth has arrived.
But scientists think this may work differently in fruit flies. They studied a hormone normally found in insects. It appears that the gland that produces this hormone begins to stop growing.
When the fly is a larva, this gland receives a lot of nutritional information that determines the amount of hormone to be produced. But once a certain amount of hormone is reached, this information is no longer needed and the gland regulates itself.
This will be the time when the flies stop growing. Flies do not measure themselves as predatory insects do. Similar studies among mammals should show whether this also applies to humans. But given the role growth hormones play in our bodies and the way nutritional information is processed using insulin, we may have a similar mechanism.
Read more about the research here: Why does puberty cause us to stop growing?