Scientists have managed to pinpoint a Grey Hair Gene. This discovery could be beneficial in coming up with new ways in which the natural sign of ageing can be delayed or prevented, according to Nature Communications.
Hair dyes are helpful in covering up the grey Hair but gene manipulation may in future stop it completely.
Over 6,000 volunteers of African, European and Native American origin took part in the research in which their DNA samples were collected.
Eye, skin and natural hair pigment referred to as melanin is regulated by gene IRF4.
It is found on chromosome 6 and although there is a possibility of other genes being responsible for the graying, it offers the researchers with a new target.
Lead author Dr. Adhikari Kaustubh explained that it is already known that there are some genes that play a role in the hair color and balding process but this is the first time a gene that makes the hair grey is known to humans and also other genes that influence the shape and density of the hair.
“This discovery was possible because we made a keen analysis of people’s melting pot on a scale that has not been done before.”
The color of the hair is as a result of pigments that that cells known as melanocytes produce. They reside at the root of the hair.
As one gets old, the melanocytes stop the production of these pigments and thus hair starts losing its natural color and grey sets in.
Experts have not failed to state that environmental factors as well as other genes may also be responsible for this ageing process- the one example that we have for now is IRF4.
Apart from the Grey Hair gene, the researchers were able to find a gene that is associated with mono-brows as well as others linked to eyebrow thickness and beard.
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