Latest Issue of Science News


News

Stressed-out DNA turns mousy brown hair gray

Stem cells responsible for hair color lose self-renewing abilities

By
1:17pm, June 11, 2009

Gray hair may be a mark of distinction in some circles, but it’s also a sign of a depleted stem cell population. DNA damage causes stem cells that produce hair-color cells in mice to lose their “stemness,” leaving brown hair gray, a report in the June 12 Cell shows. The results suggest a new way stem cell populations can be depleted as cells accumulate DNA damage over time.

The new study “opens up a new paradigm for how we’re going to study stem cell aging in many systems,” comments Kevin Mills of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The report “fills in what’s been a hole in our understanding of stem cell biology.”

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News