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Gray Hair Gene Found: DNA Responsible for Different Types of Hair

Image: Gray Hair Gene Found: DNA Responsible for Different Types of Hair
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By    |   Wednesday, 02 Mar 2016 08:48 AM

A gray hair gene was discovered recently by a team of scientists who analyzed more than 6,000 people from various ancestries in Latin America and then reported their findings in a University College London study.

The research, which was published in the science journal Nature Communications this week, has identified new genes associated with hair color, graying, density, and shape, such as if hair is curly or straight.

The university stated that study's results could lead to the development of forensic DNA technologies that build visual profiles based on an individual's genetic makeup.

"We already know several genes involved in balding and hair color but this is the first time a gene for greying has been identified in humans, as well as other genes influencing hair shape and density," Kaustubh Adhikari, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

"It was only possible because we analyzed a diverse melting pot of people, which hasn't been done before on this scale. These findings have potential forensic and cosmetic applications as we increase our knowledge on how genes influence the way we look," Adhikari continued.

According to The Washington Post, the researchers examined some 6,300 men and women from many ethnic backgrounds. The work led them to gene IRF4, which was previously known to play a role in hair color. The gene is connected to the regulating and storing of melanin, which determines hair, skin, and eye color, according to the university.

Researchers said that having a better understanding of IRF4 could lead to new cosmetic applications that change the appearance of hair as it grows in the follicle.

Vivian Diller, a New York City research psychologist, told CNN that the discovery could be a relief for many people concerned with gray hair being connected to mortality.

"I think [people] will feel less like they are out of control," she said. "If we know that it is in your genes you will get gray hair at a certain age, no matter what you do, you will say, 'OK, I'll just color it. I'm not going to pluck them out, and I know it doesn't mean I'm old and dying.'"

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A gray hair gene was discovered recently by a team of scientists who analyzed more than 6,000 people from various ancestries in Latin America and then reported their findings in a University College London study.
gray, hair, gene, found, study
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2016-48-02
Wednesday, 02 Mar 2016 08:48 AM
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