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A cure for cancer and gray hair all in one? Not bad, science, not bad.

At the moment, the only remedy for gray hair is to cover it up, but that may soon change. Researchers at New York University have isolated a protein that coordinates pigmentation in hair follicles.

Their study, which was recently published in the journal Cell, shows that this protein, wnt, facilitates the work of both stem cells that guide the development of hair follicles and an entirely different set of stem cells, called melanocytes, that produce color. So far, the scientists have only succeeded in turning black-haired mice gray by inhibiting the wnt pathway, but they're hopeful that reversing the process is not far off. Even better: the research may help scientists understand diseases in which melanocytes begin uncontrolled cell growth—in other words, melanoma.