Scientists have pinpointed a gene responsible for grey hair – a discovery that could lead to new ways of delaying or preventing this natural sign of ageing, they say in Nature Communications.
Hair dyes can cover up greying but gene manipulation may, in future, banish it altogether.
The international team collected DNA samples from “a diverse melting pot” of more than 6,000 volunteers of European, Native American and African ancestry.
The gene IRF4 regulates a natural hair, skin and eye pigment called melanin.
It sits on chromosome six and while it is unlikely to be the only gene controlling greying, it provides a new target for researchers.
Lead author Dr Kaustubh Adhikari, from University College London, said: “We already know several genes involved in balding and hair colour but this is the first time a gene for greying has been identified in humans, as well as other genes influencing hair shape and density.
Read full story: Grey hair gene discovered by scientists