Researchers from King’s College London and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane have identified the genes responsible for determining mole hair patterns. The presence of hair on moles was largely determined by genetics, with around 60% of the variation of mole hair patterns being attributed to DNA. The team discovered two genes that influence the hair patterns: FOXL2 and HR. FOXL2 is involved in the development of hair follicles, while HR is essential for the production of hair proteins. Understanding the genetic foundations on mole hair patterns could have significant effects on diagnosing and curing skin cancer and other diseases associated with abnormal hair growth.
The genetics behind mole hair patterns revealed
Moles are common skin growths that appear as dark spots or patches on the skin. Every individual has several moles on their body, and they can vary in size, shape, and color. But have you ever wondered why some people have moles with hair, while others don’t?
Recent research has shed light on the genetic basis for mole hair patterns – and the findings could have implications for diagnosing and treating skin cancer.
What are moles?
Moles, also known as nevi, are clusters of pigmented cells called melanocytes that give the skin its color. Moles can be flat or raised, smooth or rough, and vary in size from tiny dots to large patches.
While most moles are harmless, some can develop into cancerous growths known as melanomas, which can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.
What determines mole hair patterns?
Moles with hair are more common than you might think, occurring in around 50% of adults. But until recently, it was unclear what caused some moles to have hair and others not to.
Researchers from King’s College London and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, have now identified the genes responsible for mole hair patterns.
The team studied more than 3,000 twins and analyzed their mole patterns using high-resolution photos. They found that the presence of hair on moles was largely determined by genetics, with around 60% of the variation in mole hair patterns being attributed to DNA.
What genes are involved?
The researchers identified two genes that play a role in determining mole hair patterns: FOXL2 and HR. FOXL2 is involved in the development of hair follicles, while HR is important for the production of hair proteins.
The scientists found that genetic variations in these two genes can affect the density and distribution of hair on moles, suggesting that they are key drivers of mole hair patterns.
What are the implications?
Understanding the genetic basis for mole hair patterns could have clinical implications for diagnosing and treating skin cancer.
Moles with hair are generally considered to be less risky than non-hairy moles, as they are less likely to develop into melanomas. However, the new findings suggest that certain genetic variations could increase the risk of mole-associated melanomas.
By identifying individuals with these genetic variations, doctors could identify those at higher risk of melanoma and offer earlier and more frequent screening.
The findings could also pave the way for new treatments for skin cancer and other conditions involving abnormal hair growth, such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and alopecia (hair loss).
Q: Are all moles genetic?
A: Yes, moles are caused by genetic mutations that cause melanocytes to grow in clusters.
Q: Are moles with hair less dangerous than non-hairy moles?
A: Generally, yes. Moles with hair are less likely to develop into cancerous growths, as the hair tends to inhibit the growth of abnormal cells.
Q: Can mole hair patterns change over time?
A: Yes, mole hair patterns can change over time as a result of hormonal changes or genetic mutations. If you notice any changes to your moles, such as growth, bleeding, or changes in color or texture, you should have them checked by a medical professional.
Q: Can mole hair patterns be treated or removed?
A: Yes, mole hair can be removed through various methods, such as shaving, waxing, or laser therapy. However, mole removal should only be carried out by a qualified medical professional, as it can increase the risk of complications such as scarring or infection.