Proof at last: gentlemen do prefer blondes
BRITAIN: Researchers conducting the largest genetic investigation into hair colour have discovered that, among people of European descent, women are 20 per cent more likely to have blonde hair than men.
It means that, as humans have evolved, blonde women have been disproportionately more successful at passing on their genes.
A team at King’s College London set out to discover why. Using their discovery of more than 100 new genes known to play a major role in determining human hair colour, they attempted to identify any connections between the ‘‘blonde genes’’ and those known to influence good or poor health.
They also sought to establish any links between a genetic propensity for blondeness and femininity itself in the X chromosome. None, however, was found.
The study has led them to conclude that throughout human history, blonde women have enjoyed a ‘‘mating preference’’. In other words, men have been more likely to want to procreate with them simply because of how they look.
To identify the previously unknown hair colour genes, the researchers analysed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent, together with their self-reported hair colour information.
‘‘Our work helps us to understand what causes human diversity in appear- ance, by showing how genes involved in pigmentation subtly adapted to external environments and even social interactions during our evolution,’’ said researcher Professor Tim Spector.
‘‘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.’’
The team has said it believes the discovery of the new genes will significantly improve the ability of forensic investigators to track down criminals using DNA. It also promises new insights into conditions related to skin pigmentation, such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers. – Telegraph Group