Looking a bit frizzled today? Having another bad hair day?
Looking a bit frizzled today? Having another bad hair day? Much as the advertisers would like us to think that the appearance of our hair is just a question of buying the right products, it may also be a question of having the right genes. As always, these hairy questions are well-studied for fruit flies but less well for humans. Now, a group led by Jeremy Nathans at Johns Hopkins University has taken a crucial step from flies to people by showing that one gene from the Frizzled family controls the orientation of hair not only in the fly but also in mice.
Mice lacking this gene have whorls of hair in unusual places, even though they appear otherwise healthy down to their hair follicles. Apparently it’s the epithelial ( ie skin) cells that make hairs point the wrong way. With frizzled mice brought to book, it can only be a question of months until the more hair-raising questions about the genetic origins of unruly hair in humans are answered. Watch out for the next generation shampoos, ’for frizzled or genetically challenged hair’.