Scientists identify over a new genes that determine hair color

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 17, 2018

By comparing the hair colour of the group with their genetic information, stored at several million locations across the human genome, the team identified 124 genes involved in the development of hair colour, of which more than 100 were not previously known to influence pigmentation. While previous studies have shown that this feature is genetically controlled, it's the first time the specific genes have been pinpointed.

Co-author Dr. David Hinds from 23andMe said: "While the genetics of hair colour is an interesting problem in itself, we hope that better understanding of the biology of melanin pigmentation will be applicable to studies of diseases that interact with pigmentation, such as skin cancer or vitiligo". We already knew that melanin production and distribution have an overwhelmingly heritable nature (genetics accounts for nearly 97% of color variation), but we didn't know which genes were responsible. Now, Pirro Hysi, Manfred Kayser, and colleagues, believe they've found the answer.

Joint lead author Professor Tim Spector, from King's College London, said: "We found that women have significantly fairer hair than men, which reflects how important cultural practices and sexual preferences are in shaping our genes and biology".

Overall, the research team examined DNA information from almost 300,000 people of European descent and compared the genetic data to the study participants' self-reported hair colors.

However, there seemed to be a gap between the known hair color genes and the large amount of heritable or genetic factors responsible for the many variations in hair color.

Spector said: "Our work helps us to understand what causes human diversity in appearance by showing how genes involved in pigmentation subtly adapted to external environments and even social interactions during our evolution".

"The genes that affect hair color also affect other cancer types, while other pigment genes affect the chances of having Crohn's and other forms of bowel disease", he added in a university news release. In other words, forensic scientists might one day be able to tell someone's natural hair color based on DNA alone.

So far, researchers are very good at accurately predicting black and red hair, but blonde and brown hair are proving more challenging.

MONDAY, April 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) - The color of your hair turns out to be a complicated thing, with a full 124 genes determining whether you wind up a blonde, brunette or redhead.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE