A “curly hair gene” has been discovered by scientists, paving the way for a pill that could perform the same function as hair straighteners, according to a study in the latest edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
The groundbreaking research identified the trichohyalin gene as the one that is mainly responsible for creating curls. Although it was already known to play some role in the development of the hair follicle, scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) have now found its role in curliness. Professor Nick Martin, head of the QIMR Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory and author of the research, says it is variation in this gene that determines straightness or curliness of hair.
Prof Martin reveals that it may now be possible to come up with treatments to make hair straighter as an alternative to heated hair-straighteners. He says, “Potentially we can now develop new treatments to make hair curlier or straighter, rather than treating the hair directly. That is one angle we will be working on and which I will be discussing with a major cosmetic company in Paris in January.
“Also, we could certainly predict whether it was more probable that a baby would have curly or straight hair,” Martin says. “We plan to keep working on this to improve the prediction.”
The most immediate application, however, is likely to be in forensics and not in beauty. “We might be able to refine identikit pictures from DNA samples left at a crime scene to say whether the suspect had straight or curly hair,” Marin says. “We can already predict their hair and eye and skin color, so this would be another trait to refine the picture.”
(via Telegraph UK)