What does this gene do?
The IRF4 gene encodes for a protein that is part of the interferon regulatory factor (IRF) family of transcription factors, interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4).
The IRFs are vital in regulation of signalling cells, interferons in response to a viral infection.
There is a strong association with the gene and specific pigmentation. This variant is linked to sensitivity of skin to sun exposure, freckles, blue eyes and lighter hair. There has also been a variant associated in greying of hair.
The CT genotype, is mainly observed in Europeans at more than 20%, and would have slightly lighter hair, eye colour and reduced tanning ability.
The TT genotype, mainly presenting in Europeans and in 3% in the general population. This genotype would also have a reduced tanning ability, slightly lighter hair and eye colours.