Scientific Discovery: Why Hair Goes Gray

You can pluck it. You can dye it. But you can't beat it.

Gray hair is genetic.

That's the word from an international group of researchers, who have identified the first gene linked with gray hair, called IRF4.

Led by Kaustubh Adhikari of University College London, the team conducted a genetic analysis of more than 6,000 Latin Americans of mixed ancestry to prove that genes determine if your hair will turn gray or not. This particular group was chosen because of its extreme diversity.

"We already know several genes involved in balding and hair color, but this is the first time a gene for graying has been identified in humans, as well as other genes influencing hair shape and density," said Adhikari.

So what? In addition to possibly figuring out ways to delay hair graying, the findings have potential forensic and cosmetic applications as scientific knowledge expands on how genes influence the way we look.

The study findings were reported in the journal Nature.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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