Those studies center on the P2RY5 gene.
The first study focuses on hair loss. It included 11 hypotrichosis patients, all from the same extended family in Saudi Arabia. Those patients had certain P2RY5 gene mutations.
Those mutations could make good targets for new hair loss drugs, according to the researchers, who included graduate student Sandra Pasternack of the Institute of Human Genetics at Germany's University of Bonn.
The hair texture study included six Pakistani families with "woolly" hair, which the researchers describe as being sparse in spots and "coarse, lusterless, dry, and tightly curled."
Several mutations in the P2RY5 gene were linked to woolly hair, report Columbia University's Yutaka Shimomura, MD, PhD, and colleagues.
Manipulating the P2RY5 gene "could be envisaged for the treatment of excessive or unwanted hair," or as an alternative to chemical straightening or permanent waves, Shimomura's team suggests.
Both studies appear in the Feb. 24, 2008 edition of Nature Genetics.