More than 100 genes determine hair colour

Dr Pirro Hysi and a group of researchers from Kings’s College London and Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam have discovered 124 genes that play a major role in human hair colour. The study is the largest of its kind, using DNA data and self-reported hair colour information from nearly 300,000 people.

Previous studies have found that much of the variation in human hair colour is down to genetics, with around a dozen known genes, but this study largely completes the knowledge gap of which genes control hair colour. Around 100 of the genes the team discovered were not previously known to contribute to pigmentation. These new genes have also allowed the team to predict hair colour much more accurately than before.

The study is the largest genetic study on pigmentation ever undertaken and could advance our knowledge of diseases that are linked to pigmentation, such as skin cancer. The results could also be applied to forensic science.

Read the paper, published in Nature Genetics.

Recent Blog Post

Study Reveals ZOE Personalised Diets Yield Health Improvements 

9th May 2024 – by Aaruthy Suthahar In a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine, researchers from...

New Study Reveals Epigenetic Markers for Type 2 Diabetes Complications in Identical Twins 

23rd April 2024 – by Aaruthy Suthahar A recent collaborative effort among seven international twin cohorts, including TwinsUK, has yielded...

Celebrating International Women's Day: Stories from Twins and TwinsUK Staff

25th March 2024 – by Aaruthy Suthahar International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th is a day to celebrate the...