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Strange sheep twins and the mystery of hair shaft shape

conference contribution
posted on 2024-06-19, 01:12 authored by Duane HarlandDuane Harland, Jeff PlowmanJeff Plowman, Marina RichenaMarina Richena, David Scobie, Kim ParkerKim Parker, Thomas L. Dawson Jr.

Hair shape may seem simple. Curvature and torsion produce diverse hair shapes including tight helical coils, linear waves, and straight. However, the causes of hair shape are not clearly understood because hair shafts and hair follicles are extraordinarily complex, and phenotype may be an emergent property of interacting phenomena. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation and there are many false leads. To tease out what features of hair shafts cause hair shape and how this shape is programmed into the hair, we developed a tightly controlled experimental model using sheep. In our model, fraternal twin sheep have one twin with straight wool and the other with normal curly wool, but little else differs. Using two sheep flocks that have mutations with differing levels of dominance and penetrance, we have uncovered the main differences in shaft morphology, microstructure and proteome correlating with curl. We then analysed gene expression differences between follicles growing straight and curly hairs. This talk summarises our comprehensive phenotyping and the progress made to solve the mystery of how curl is caused and controlled in mammalian hairs.

Funding

AgResearch Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF)

History

Publication date

2024-06-12

Project number

  • PRJ0186025

Language

  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No

Conference name

11th International Conference on Applied Hair Science

Conference location

Red Bank, New Jersey

Conference start date

2024-06-12

Conference end date

2024-06-13

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