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Thread: Your 23andme Blonde Hair Results HERC2, KITLG and SLC24A4

  1. #1
    J Man
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    Your 23andme Blonde Hair Results HERC2, KITLG and SLC24A4

    23andme has released a new tool that reports peoples' results for certain genes that seem to be associated with blonde hair. First a description of these results.

    Blond Hair and Your Genes
    Table 1: Blond Hair in 23andMe Customers
    Genetic Result Customers Reporting Blond Hair (N=73,628)
    5-6 variants 52.9%
    3-4 variants 28.2%
    1-2 variants 10.4%
    0 variants 0.5%
    There are two types of melanin: a brown-black form known as eumelanin and a yellow-red form known as pheomelanin. The amount of eumelanin and pheomelanin you produce has important consequences on the way you look. In most people, eumelanin levels dominate, leading to variation in brown-black pigmentation. People with higher levels of eumelanin have darker hair and those with lower levels of eumelanin have lighter hair that may be considered blond. A small subset of the world's population has high levels of pheomelanin, leading to red hair and light skin color. One marker (rs12821256) that affects pigmentation is near a gene called KITLG. The KITLG gene is believed to affect pigmentation by controlling the movement, survival, and growth of melanin-producing cells called melanocytes. A second marker (rs1667394) we report on is located near the OCA2 gene, which codes for a protein located in melanocytes.

    Not everyone with these variants reports having blond hair. Table 1 shows the percentage of 23andMe customers that report having blond hair, broken down by their genetic result.

    About twenty percent of 23andMe customers report having blond hair, though this number varies greatly based on ethnic background. Blond hair is most common in Northern European populations, with hair color going from light to dark as you move from Northern to Southern Europe. Blond hair is also occasionally found in non-European populations, but the genetics underlying blond hair in such groups is unique. For instance, roughly five to ten percent of Solomon Islanders have blond hair that is caused by a single genetic variant in a gene called TYRP1.


    And here are my own results below. I have dark brown hair but I was blonde as a small child. I seem to have some blonde hair genes but I must also have dark hair genes that dominate the blonde ones?

    23andMe Name Other Name(s) DNA Change Genotype Result
    rs12896399 G to T GT Has 3-4 variants associated with blond hair in people with European ancestry. Approximately 28% of 23andMe customers with this result report having blond hair.
    rs1667394 C to T CT
    rs12821256 T to C CT

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    Both my brother and myself have the same variant (rs1667394 TT). Most of our family are dark haired - there is at least red headed relative a few generations back on my mother's side - and blonde hair is pretty much restricted only to children, for example my four month old nephew is blond as his father (my sister is the baby's mother) was as a child, but his father has medium brown hair. My siblings were born with white blonde hair that darkened to various shades of dark or medium brown whilst my hair was black when I was born and has lightened to dark brown. My mother had black hair and my father used to have dark brown hair that become more grey.

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    I have a single G->T base pair mutation at rs12896399, putting me in the 10% chance bracket.

    Head hair is very dark brown (chestnut as child, lightens slightly in summer). Beard hair is mostly black, but something like 10-15% is either blonde or auburn/red (hard to tell). So the single mutation makes sense; there's some subtle blondism, but the overall phenotype is dark brown-black hair.

    There's also a new red hair report if anyone's interested, which appears to be completely focused on MC1R.

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    My hair color is dark brown, but it was lighter when I was younger. My beard has some Blonde and Red hair.


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    28 % chance of having blonde hair

    Last edited by bored; 01-30-2015 at 03:07 AM.

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    I had brown hair as a kid but now it's pretty much black.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jesus View Post
    My hair color is dark brown, but it was lighter when I was younger. My beard has some Blonde and Red hair.

    You being from west Asia, confirms blonde hair there is caused(For at least some) by the same markers as in Europe. I know you don't have blonde hair, but you have ancestors who did(carrier, via rs12821256 C allele). I don't know of any academic studies which studied blonde hair in west Asia, so I was always skeptical whether or not it was from the same source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krefter View Post
    You being from west Asia, confirms blonde hair there is caused(For at least some) by the same markers as in Europe. I know you don't have blonde hair, but you have ancestors who did(carrier, via rs12821256 C allele). I don't know of any academic studies which studied blonde hair in west Asia, so I was always skeptical whether or not it was from the same source.
    The daughter of our family friends is South Asian and has blonde hair. I'm from Northwest India.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    I have a single G->T base pair mutation at rs12896399, putting me in the 10% chance bracket.

    Head hair is very dark brown (chestnut as child, lightens slightly in summer). Beard hair is mostly black, but something like 10-15% is either blonde or auburn/red (hard to tell). So the single mutation makes sense; there's some subtle blondism, but the overall phenotype is dark brown-black hair.

    There's also a new red hair report if anyone's interested, which appears to be completely focused on MC1R.
    How do you get results from these reports?

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    There are some blonde people in our family.. I'm not one of them though.
    Terminal SNPs: FGC31931/V2381 • PF6576 • PF7562 • PH1631/V2850

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