The Look Of Your Eyebrow Is In Your Genes

The first gene mapping study on eyebrow thickness in Europeans discovered three previously unreported genetic loci, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

Cosmetics including eye pencils, shadow, or powder can help you create your look, but according to a new study conducted by the International Visible Trait Genetics (VisGen) Consortium, and published as a letter to the editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology under the title: “Genome-wide association studies identify DNA variants influencing eyebrow thickness variation in Europeans and across continental populations,” the shape of your natural eyebrows is in your genes.

The first gene mapping eyebrow thickness in Europeans discovered three previously unreported genetic loci and showed that eyebrow appearance has partly the same and partly different underlying genes in people from different parts of the world.

The appearance of human eyebrows is not just a matter of grooming but is in the genes. Eyebrow thickness, as any other appearance trait, is highly heritable. Until now, genetic knowledge about eyebrow thickness has been very limited and solely restricted to non-Europeans.

This study is the first genome-wide association study on eyebrow thickness in Europeans. By identifying new genes and rediscovering some of the genes previously identified in non-Europeans, the study expands genetic knowledge on human eyebrow variation, which is of broad interest and has implications for dermatology and other fields.

Eyebrow thickness among Europeans has never been reported. Previous studies were preformed among Latin American and Chinese individuals, establishing four eyebrow thickness-associated genetic loci. Because no European eyebrow thickness had been reported, researchers didn’t know whether the genetic eyebrow thickness effects described in non-Europeans persisted in Europeans or whether there are European-specific genetic loci involved in eyebrow thickness, or both. 

Lead investigator Prof. Manfred Kayser of the genetic identification department at Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Holland, who is co-chair of the consortium, commented, “Despite the immense efforts in mapping genes underlying human complex traits, we still don’t know much more about the genes that make us sick than about those behind our healthy looks. We discovered new genes involved in eyebrow variation in Europeans and rediscovered some of the genes previously identified in non-Europeans.

The study of almost 10,000 individuals from four groups of European ancestry not only discovered three previously unreported genetic loci associated with eyebrow thickness, but also rediscovered two of the four genetic loci previously found in non-Europeans. 

Healthline posted an article titled: “Why Do We Have Eyebrows?” Here is some of the genetic portion of the article:

Scientists have established the the shape, color, and thickness of your eyebrows are inherited traits. 

In one major study in 2015, scientists found a strong relationship between inheritance of specific genes and eyebrow appearance. 

Four separate genes may affect eyebrow hair texture, one gene may determine eyebrow shape, five genes affect eyebrow hair color, and one gene determines whether or not you develop a monobrow.

But environmental factors also have a lot to do with how your eyebrows look. Years of waxing or tweezing your eyebrows permanently affect their shape. Injuries to the skin near your eyebrows can also affect hair growth and eyebrow shape.

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