Skin melanin levels

Skin color is a highly variable trait with a wide spectrum of possibilities from almost black to almost white. It is determined by the amount and type of melanin and is closely related to eye and hair color. This color variation is mostly due to genetics.

Skin color is a highly variable trait, linked to genetics and geographic distribution. It is the result of the amount and type of melanin, a natural pigment that is also responsible for hair color and whose function is to absorb harmful UV radiation. Melanins are found in all individuals, forming complex combinations that give rise to the many shades of skin color. In general, there are two types of melanins, eumelanin, which is dark in color, and pheomelanin, which is light in color. In general, it is the amount of eumelanin that will determine skin color, although pheomelanin is especially present in redheads.

Melanins are produced by melanocytes, located in the basal layer of the dermis and in the hair follicle. Different human ethnicities have approximately the same number of melanocytes, but dark-skinned people have a higher cellular activity.

Dark skin is richer in pigments that provide superior protection against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. It is associated with tropical regions and high UV radiation.

Light skin is associated with low UV radiation environments such as subtropical regions. This skin type has better UV absorption qualities and is more efficient in vitamin D synthesis.

Brown skin is the intermediate color type between light and dark skin. In this type, melanosomes provide moderate protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. It is mainly associated with tropical regions such as India, Polynesia and the Middle East, although it is widely distributed throughout the world. Both fair and brown skin can change its tone as a result of exposure to the sun, although the latter tans more easily.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of loci analyzed

193 loci

Genes analyzed

ACHE ADO AHCY AHR ANGPTL2 ANKRD11 ARRDC3 ATP10A ATP1B3 ATP2B1 ATXN7L1 BNC2 C11orf58 CADM2 CD180 CDH15 CHMP1A CKB CNTN1 CPNE7 CRTC3 CTSK CYBA CYBRD1 CYP1B1 DBNDD1 DDB1 DEF8 DLGAP4 DPEP1 DYDC2 EDN2 EPB41L1 EPHA4 ERMP1 ERRFI1 EZR FANCA FOSL2 FOXD3 FOXQ1 FZD9 GAB2 GAS8 GCKR GINS2 GORAB GPR21 GSS GTF2H1 HCK HERC2 HMCN1 ID4 IL16 INPP5E IRF4 JADE2 KCNC4 KIAA0930 KITLG LEKR1 MAFF MARVELD3 MCF2L MED13L MEX3B MLANA MSX2 NDRG3 NDUFS4 NPLOC4 NTS OCA2 PABPN1L PDE4D PIK3IP1 PKHD1 PLAT POMC PPARGC1B PRDM7 PTRH2 RAB11FIP2 RAB32 RALY RASA2 RBBP5 RUNX3 RXFP3 SAMHD1 SCAND1 SCD SGIP1 SIK1 SLAIN1 SLC24A4 SLC25A19 SLC27A2 SLC38A4 SLC45A2 SOS2 SOX2 SOX5 SP6 SPIRE2 SRPK2 TARS1 TBC1D30 TCF25 TENT5A TGDS TPCN2 TRPC4AP TRPM1 TRPS1 TTC27 TUBB3 TYR TYRP1 UBC UGT1A1 VPS9D1 XYLT2 ZBTB20 ZC3H18 ZFP36L2 ZNF337

Bibliography

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