Scientists have made another ground breaking find by identifying the gene responsible for greying hair, the find came with a claim that the breakthrough could aid developments of treatments to delay or block the process of greying. This is surely good news to some who have dreaded the age that increases the possibility of trading normal hair colors for the grey hair that signifies old age.
The gene, IRF4 which has been known already in the past to be responsible for hair color has now been definitely linked with production and storage of melanin. Melanin is of course the pigment that determines hair, skin or eye colour and the lack of melanin causes hair to go grey. The hope is that by understanding what exact role IRF4’s play in the greying process, they will be able to propagate the development of new treatments to slow down the effects of ageing rather than the current trend of covering it up with dye.
The findings which were published in the journal Nature Communications had the man who led the study; professor Andrés Ruiz-Linares, from University College London commenting; “Understanding the mechanism of the IRF4 greying association could also be relevant for developing ways to delay hair greying”. The lead author of the study from UCL’s cell and developmental biology lab, Dr Kaustubh Adhikari also said; “The genes we have identified are unlikely to work in isolation to cause greying or straight hair, or thick eyebrows, but have a role to play along with many other factors yet to be identified,”.
It is therefore a safe conclusion from this particular study that while the IRF4 may not be the singular gene that plays a role in the greying of hair, understanding what role it plays could help to begin treatments to prevent greying. The researchers analysed 6,357 DNA samples, 45 percent of which were male and 55 percent female, from volunteers in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. The volunteers were assessed for hair shape, color, balding and greying, with men also checked for beard, monobrow and eyebrow thickness.