Researchers, who conducted the largest-ever genetic study into hair color have revealed that women are twice as likely as men to have naturally fair hair.

According to Prof Tim Spector of King’s College London, co-author of the paper published in the Nature Genetics journal, it happens because gentlemen prefer blonde ladies, whereas women are more sexually attracted to brunette males.

Metro chatted with Spector to know more about the investigation that analyzed data of 300,000 European adults and is set to advance our understanding of conditions linked to pigmentation such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Do most guys really prefer blonde women?

Q: How did you start with this research?

 

Tim Spector, professor at King’s College London – We wanted to find the genes responsible for hair color six years ago, to achieve a better understanding of cancer. These new genes are a very important element when it comes to other diseases. We also wanted to improve forensic prediction of hair color.

Q: What are the study’s most interesting results?

Spector - We found 120 new genes responsible for hair color, many of them playing a role when it comes to other diseases.

Q: But what about sexual preferences?

Spector – According to the study, females were more likely to be naturally blond and males dark haired which wasn’t explained by the genes.

Q: Why is your study important?

Spector – We realize that hair color genes can help find new treatments for many diseases and we can now predict hair color for many people with over 90 percent certainty. Finding that there are more blond females and fewer brunettes than expected happened by chance. This suggests some cultural selection.

Q: What impact do you expect?

Spector – This opens up new research avenues and may explain the popularity of blond hair dyes in women but not men.

Q: What’s next?

Spector – We will keep looking at genes for sun-seeking and skin tanning as well as eye color.

By the numbers

120 - the number of new genes that were identified by scientists that play a major role in determining human hair color variation.

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