A recent scientific finding has ensured that the gene responsible for grey hair has been tracked down. The study was conducted by a group of scientists and was led by Prof. Andres Ruiz-Linares. The group investigated around 6630 people from diverged ancestry across Latin America. The study confirmed discovery of a new gene that is directly linked with the color, graying, density and shape of hair.
Prof. Ruiz and other co authors from the study explained their discover further in press release stating “Our study sample consists of 6,630 volunteers from the CANDELA cohort recruited in five Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru), In these individuals, we performed a categorical assessment (in men and women) of: scalp hair shape (curliness), color, balding and graying as well as (in men) of beard thickness (that is, density), monobrow and eyebrow thickness.”
The gene that was recognized for graying hair was named IRF4 or the interferon regulatory factor 4 genes. This gene was already accepted by scientists as the key player of deciding coloring of hair; however this was the first time this gene got linked up with graying hair. The study team stated “IRF4 is involved in regulating production and storage of melanin, the pigment that determines hair, skin and eye color; Hair graying is caused by an absence of melanin in hair so the scientists want to find out IRF4’s role in this process.”
Experts stated that by understanding the functionality and the effects of this gene, developing new cosmetics and medicine would be far easier. Prof. Ruiz stated that “We have found the first genetic association to hair graying, which could provide a good model to understand aspects of the biology of human aging, Understanding the mechanism of the IRF4 graying association could also be relevant for developing ways to delay hair graying.”
The study team also unveiled other genes and their influences on our hair. The team revealed that EDAR is responsible for beard thickness and hair shape, PRSS53 is reasoned for hair curliness and FOXL2 for eyebrow thickness. The study explained “The genes we have identified are unlikely to work in isolation to cause graying or straight hair, or thick eyebrows, but have a role to play along with many other factors yet to be identified.” The study was published in the journal Nature.