Researchers discover black and white answer to gray hair

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Researchers from the University College London found a single gene that is directly related to the development of gray hair as we age
By Jason Spencer | Mar 06, 2016
Society has mixed feelings about gray hair. The first gray hair you see is usually cause to rush off to the hairdresser, despite how when we look at pictures of celebrities with gray hair we regard them as refined and elegant.

Now scientists have discovered a gene that all gray-haired individuals, celebrity or not, have. According to Morning News USA, a study undergone at the University College London (UCL) has shown that there is a single gene that causes gray hair.

This study is the first to examine why hair goes gray as we age. Scientists had the challenge of combing through over 6,000 people. Ranging from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, this gave scientists a large spectrum of the human race.

"It was only possible because we analyzed a diverse melting pot of people, which hasn't been done before on this scale," said Dr.Kaustubh Adhikari, the lead author of the study. From the meticulous research of this wide array of humans, scientists were able to isolate a specific gene labeled IRF4.

Microcap Magazine added that by taking a closer look at IRF4, researchers were able to see how the gene influences the color of hair by slowing the production of melanin in hair follicles, causing locks of brown, blonde, red, or black to turn gray over time.

"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," said researchers.

The study also isolated a few other genes.FOXL2 is the gene associated with bushy eyebrows, whereasPRSS53 is linked to curly hair.


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