Common Variants in the Trichohyalin Gene Are Associated with Straight Hair in Europeans
Sarah E. Medland et al.
Hair morphology is highly differentiated between populations and among people of European ancestry. Whereas hair morphology in East Asian populations has been studied extensively, relatively little is known about the genetics of this trait in Europeans. We performed a genome-wide association scan for hair morphology (straight, wavy, curly) in three Australian samples of European descent. All three samples showed evidence of association implicating the Trichohyalin gene (TCHH), which is expressed in the developing inner root sheath of the hair follicle, and explaining ∼6% of variance (p = 1.5 × 10−31). These variants are at their highest frequency in Northern Europeans, paralleling the distribution of the straight-hair EDAR variant in Asian populations.