Hair color

Hair pigmentation, similar to skin pigmentation, is an aspect determined mainly by the amount and distribution of melanin. The proportion and amount of melanin is specific to each individual, resulting in a wide variety of hair colorations.

The hair is the continuation of the scalp, formed mainly by keratin. Melanin is the chemical substance that, together with keratin, gives hair its color. There are two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and their quantity and proportion is what determines the final natural color. Specifically, people with darker shades have a higher amount of eumelanin, while those with lighter or reddish shades have a higher proportion of pheomelanin. In this hair coloring process, a few cell types are involved: the melanocytes where the pigment is manufactured, the keratinocytes in the hair to which the pigment is transferred and the fibroblasts in the dermis that regulate the melanocytes.

There are many possible hair shades (black, brown, blond, red, gray or white), with dark colors being the most common. The greatest heterogeneity is found in Europe, where in the north blond hair is the most common color. It is also common for hair color to be associated with skin and eye color, although not always.

Hair color can also vary in different cases. Age is the most important factor that can cause a change in hair color. As we age, melanin production progressively decreases, so that the hair takes on a grayish hue. The age at which this begins is mainly determined by genetics. Other conditions that can affect hair color are albinism, a genetic anomaly in which the ability to produce melanin is lost, vitiligo, which can cause loss of pigment in skin and hair, and other conditions such as malnutrition.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of loci analyzed

121 loci

Genes analyzed

AKAP1 AKAP12 ANXA3 AP3M2 AREG ARHGAP24 ARRDC3 ATP1B3 ATXN7L1 AXIN2 BCAS1 BMP3 BMP4 BNC1 BNC2 C11orf58 C1orf127 CCDC34 CCND2 CD82 CDC42BPA CDKAL1 CHL1 CITED2 CKB CLIC5 DDIT4 DLX4 DOCK8 DSTYK EDN3 EGR3 EIF2S2 EN1 EPHA4 ERMP1 ETV1 EXOSC5 EZR FGF5 FMN2 FOSL2 FOXE1 FREM2 FZD1 FZD7 GAB2 IL16 INSC IRF4 JAZF1 KCNH1 KIAA0930 KITLG KRT33A LHX2 MAP1LC3B2 MAP3K1 MAPK11 MBNL1 MCOLN3 MITF MKLN1 MRAS MRPL39 MSX2 MTX2 MYO1B NDUFS4 NFIA NPLOC4 NR3C2 OVOL1 PAX3 PIGV PKDCC PLK2 PPFIBP2 PPM1A PTAFR PTPN11 RAD51B RPL34 RXFP3 SAPCD1 SCGB1A1 SGK1 SIK1 SLAIN1 SLC24A4 SLC38A2 SLC49A4 SNX16 SP6 SYNE2 SYNGR1 TACC1 TET2 TFAP2C TGDS THNSL2 TMEM163 TMEM258 TMEM38B TMTC3 TNFRSF4 TPCN2 TRIL TUBB3 TWIST2 TYR TYRP1 UQCRHL VGLL4 WIPF2 WNT7B ZBTB38 ZFP36L1 ZFYVE16 ZMIZ1 ZNF750

Bibliography

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