The Genetics of Freckles

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,186
    Scientists form the National Human Genome Research Institute found a generic variant associated sensitivity to the sun and freckles.

    A team from the National Human Genome Research Institute found a genetic variant associated with sensitivity to the sun, brown hair, blue eyes—and yep—freckles! Scientists say that people with ancestors from geographic locations fartherfrom the equator have less pigmentation in their skin, hair and eyes, making them more sensitive to the sun; more pigment is found in people living closer to the equator.  In a study of over 2200 Icelanders, scientists identified the new variant around the IRF4 genewith is associated with the trait of sunlight sensitivity.  They say the variant acts like a dimmer switch and when it’s in the “on” position, more pigment is produced allowing more protection from UV radiation.  Scientists say more research is now needed to determine how the variant responds to UV damage which is linked to melanoma.