Natural blondes may have 1 gene to thank - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Natural blondes may have 1 gene to thank

Updated: Jun 02, 2014 09:27 AM
© Banana Stock / Thinkstock © Banana Stock / Thinkstock

SUNDAY, June 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Blondes may or may not have more fun, but one thing's now clear: They do have something special in their genes.

New research reveals how a single genetic tweak is enough to create blond hair in people.

"This particular genetic variation in humans is associated with blond hair, but it isn't associated with eye color or other pigmentation traits," study leader David Kingsley, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Stanford University, said in a university news release.

He said the research shows how a specific gene "switch" might control color changes in human characteristics.

Kingsley has spent much of his career studying a fish known as the three-spined stickleback in an effort to better understand evolution. His research uncovered a gene that affects the fishes' pigmentation, and scientists decided to see if it has a similar effect in other species, like humans.

Turns out it does.

"The very same gene that we found controlling skin color in fish showed one of the strongest signatures of [gene] selection in different human populations around the world," Kingsley said.

In the new study, researchers found that a single letter of genetic code separates people with different hair colors.

"The genetic mechanism that controls blond hair doesn't alter the biology of any other part of the body," Kingsley said. "It's a good example of a trait that's skin deep -- and only skin deep."

What's next?

"Despite the challenges, we now clearly have the methods to link traits to particular DNA alterations," Kingsley said. "I think you will see a lot more of this type of study in the future, leading to a much better understanding of both the molecular basis of human diversity and of the susceptibility or resistance to many common diseases."

The study appears in the June 1 issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

More information

There's more on how genes work at the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:34 GMT
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
  • Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
  • Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms