A study published in the journal Nature Communications reveals that British scientists from the University College London (UCL) have figured out the first gene responsible for hair greying. The study surveyed a population of over 6,000 people with varied ancestry across Latin America to identify the gene associated with hair greying. The finding confirms that greying has a genetic component and is not just environmental.
The gene identified for hair greying– IRF4 is known to play a role in hair colour but this is the first time it has been associated with the greying of hair. "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," said Dr. Kaustubh Adhikari from UCL. Additionally, IRF4 gene is known to play a role in the skin as well as eye colour too.
Hair greying is caused by the absence of melanin in the hair and the scientists’ understanding of IRF4 could lead to the development of new cosmetics that could delay or block the greying process.