Natural blondes may have 1 gene to thank - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Natural blondes may have 1 gene to thank

Updated: Jun 02, 2014 09:27 AM
© Banana Stock / Thinkstock © Banana Stock / Thinkstock
  • Wendy Damonte's Health Watch ReportsMore>>

  • Request Remind Me 2 Kit

    Request a Remind Me 2 Kit

         More >>
  • Fish and Pregnant Women

    Fish and Pregnant Women

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:37:10 GMT
    In June the government put out new recommendations telling Americans to eat more fish because of the health benefits. But a new analysis from Consumer Reports says pregnant women should avoid one of the most popular types of fish.
    More >>
    In June the government put out new recommendations telling Americans to eat more fish because of the health benefits. But a new analysis from Consumer Reports says pregnant women should avoid one of the most popular types of fish.More >>
  • Type O Blood Donors Urgently Needed at United Blood Services

    Type O Blood Donors Urgently Needed at United Blood Services

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:02:08 GMT
    United Blood Services is reaching out to all type O donors for a blood donation since their inventories of type O blood is very low today and they need to build inventories going into the long Labor Day weekend.More >>
    United Blood Services is reaching out to all type O donors for a blood donation since their inventories of type O blood is very low today and they need to build inventories going into the long Labor Day weekend.More >>

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.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.