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Science & Environment

Scientists Find A Genetic Culprit For Gray Hair

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you're worried that this political season is causing your hair to turn prematurely gray, well, raucous debate language notwithstanding, that might not be the reason - because just last week, scientists identified the first gene for gray hair. The gene is called IRF4 and researchers say it's responsible for light hair color in people of European origin. This is the first time that they've linked it to gray hair. So, blondes might have more fun, but they're going to go gray a little faster. The good news for salon junkies is that therapies might now come along that can prevent grays from sprouting at all, and you can save on that base color. Plus, scientists identified a couple other hairy variants - the balding gene, curly heads and, if Ernie wants Bert to do more personal grooming above the eyes, Bert can blame it on his DNA because there's also a gene for unibrows. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.