New study suggests that women are more likely to be born blonde than men. Researchers have also found that 124 genes influence the color of our hair even though 100 of these genes had not been linked to hair color by past research.
Lead author Tim Spector noted that women tend to have “significantly fairer hair than men.” This suggests that biology plays a huge role in how cultural practices are being shaped.
Study authors are confident that their findings could boost the development of new treatments for various conditions.
This work will impact several fields of biology and medicine,
Prof. Spector said.
He added that the latest research is the largest genetic study on hair and skin color, which could lead to breakthroughs in skin cancer research. The genes behind hair pigmentation have a say in some cancers, bowel diseases, and Chron’s disease.
Study authors claim that the newly-researched genes could led to new treatments for ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers.
New Research Could Aid Forensic Science
Researcher David Hinds described the research on the genetics behind the hair color as “interesting” in itself. Yet, the work could lead to new insights that may help cure skin cancer and vitiligo, two conditions that influence pigmentation.
Co-author Prof. Manfred Kayser is confident that the new findings could improve forensic science. Investigators could use DNA traces to spot criminals that would otherwise walk away free.
In the study, researchers sifted through the DNA data in the UK Biobank on over 300,000 participants. Volunteers also provided self-reports about their natural hair color.
Study authors started studying the genetics of hair color and its real-world applications after reading a report about hair transplants that can cure recurrent headaches.
The latest study appeared this week in the journal Nature Genetics.
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