The Truth Behind Gray Hair and Unibrows as Revealed by Gene Study

The Truth Behind Gray Hair and Unibrows as Revealed by Gene Study

Genes play a huge role in the human body. While on one side it can affect ones cancer risk, eye color and freckles, at the same time it also has an effect by turning your hair gray.

This large study conducted out by the researchers explains why some people have unibrows, why only Asians and native Americans are gifted with smooth and glossy hair and why some of the men find hard to grow a thick beard than others.

According to the team reports in the journal Nature Communications, the results will greatly help the criminal forensics to catch the culprit by reconstructing the DNA sample. This will help them to create an image of both the victim and criminal. The result may also help to find ways to prevent gray hair.

The study also helps the researchers to know why certain types and color of hair can increase the chances of one for diseases. For example, people with a lighter hair color tone have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Developing early gray hair obviously doesn’t mean that you have a greater risk of cancer. The study further confuses the connection between hair color and certain diseases risks.

“We were looking at beard density, eyebrow density, and the monobrow,” Kaustubh Adhikari of University College London.

Adhikari is one the team member who led the study, he further says, “We were looking at hair color, hair shape, gray hair and balding. For each of them, we found a set of genes that define these features.”

Adhikari’s team studied all the gene maps of more than 6,000 Latin Americans. All of them showed a very mixed heritage. The people who participated in this study were half Europeans, half Native Americans, and 10% of the African population. Adhikari said: “It is a genetic melting pot. That gives you a huge genetic diversity.”

In the outcome, they found 10 genetic variations which had an effect on the age at which people go gray, the thickness of hair, and density of facial hair among the other possible factors. As per reported in the Journal of Nature communications none of them overlapped much. Genes for monobrows or unibrows were totally different from the genes of balding and thick beard.

Specific genes play specific functions in the body. Like for example, they found out that gene interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF 4) influence a person’s eye and hair color, freckling and body’s immune response to a certain type of viruses and leukemia.

Another gene which is associated with straight and black hair is PRSS53. This gene was only found in the East Asian and Native American people. As per Adhikari, this gene must have been evolved in east Asian ancestors trying to adapt the cold temperatures of Northern areas.

Adhikari said: “Straight hair is a consequence of your hair being thicker and stronger.” It has also been found that straight hair is a better insulator of the head than curly hair. People with unibrow should blame their gene PAX3. This gene is common in those people who have thick united brows over the nose.

Another interesting thing the researchers found out was that some rare mutations in the gene PAX3 can be a cause for Waardenburg syndrome type 1. It is an inherited disorder in which the person also experiences deafness, a wide nose, and only one thick eyebrow.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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