In a press release about the research, lead author Dr. Kaustubh Adhikari with University College London in the U.K. stated that "...this is the first time a gene for greying has been identified in humans, as well as other genes influencing hair shape and density."
The culprit has been identified as IRF4 which is "involved in regulating production and storage of melanin, the pigment that determines hair, skin and eye colour."
And while it is believed to somehow hinder the coloring process as people age, which is when the gray usually sets in, its exact role has yet to be determined.
The gene was determined by examining the DNA samples of more than 6,000 participants with diverse backgrounds from five Latin American countries.
Scientists do not believe IRF4 is the only contributor to the graying process, but knowledge about the gene could play a part in future solutions to delay hair de-coloration.
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How 8 years ages a president - Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan
First gene linked to graying hair found
Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan, 1981. Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981-1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967-1975). (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
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