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Genes Determining Hair Colour To Boost Cancer Research

Cancer research to be boosted up by genes that determine hair colour.

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New ML-tool uses DNA to predict height and cancer risk. Pixabay
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An international team of scientists have identified 124 genes that play a major role in determining human hair colour variation, a finding that may pave way for better understanding of conditions linked to pigmentation like vitiligo and skin cancer.

The discovery sheds new light on our understanding of the genetic complexity underpinning variations in human pigmentation and could advance our knowledge of conditions linked to pigmentation, such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Out of the new 124 genes, more than 100 were not previously known to influence pigmentation, the study showed.

Cancer word on newspaper
Cancer. Pixabay

“The genetic study on pigmentation will improve our understanding of diseases like melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer,” said lead author Tim Spector, Professor at King’s College London.

Moreover, the findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, are also relevant for forensic sciences, the researchers said.

“Finding these new hair colour genes is also important for further increasing the accuracy of hair colour prediction from DNA traces in future forensic applications, which can help to find unknown perpetrators of crime,” explained co-lead author Manfred Kayser Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Netherlands.

Also Read: Nine new osteoarthritis genes discovered

For the study, the team analysed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent, together with their self-reported hair colour information.

The results showed that, when it comes to European ancestry, nature prefers blonde women and brunette men.

“We found that women have significantly fairer hair than men, which reflects how important cultural practices and sexual preferences are in shaping our genes and biology,” Spector said.  IANS

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Your Genes Determine You As a Tea or Coffee Person

"The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol," Cornelis said

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Your genes make you tea or coffee lover: Study. Pixabay

Are you a tea or coffee person? The answer may lie in your genetic predisposition towards bitter tastes, say researchers.

It could be because bitterness acts as a natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances.

The study, led by researchers from US-based Northwestern University, and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia, explored reactions to three bitter substances — caffeine, quinine and propylthiouracil (PROP) — to understand how they affect people’s preference for drinking tea, coffee and alcohol.

The findings showed that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea.

In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavour of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it”.

“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” said Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

tea
The findings showed that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. Pixabay

“The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also found that people sensitive to the bitter flavours of quinine and of PROP — a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables — avoid coffee.

For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.

Also Read- Skin Care Rules To Be Followed By Men This Winter

“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.

Scientists applied Mendelian randomisation — a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology — to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 4,00,000 men and women in the UK. (IANS)