MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: How did the gene to form albino or dwarfism appear, was man created with it

Date: Sun Dec 9 13:49:37 2001
Posted By: Michael S. Robeson II, Core Nucleic Acid Analysis Manager
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 1007514622.Ge

Albinism is due to a mutation within one or several of the genes 
coding for the pigment melanin. So, in the distant past an individual 
and/or a group of people aquired the mutation and passed it on to 
their offspring. Since this does not effect reproduction in any way the 
mutant allele (alternate form of a gene) was able to remain within the 

Basically these individuals do not make enough of the pigment 
melanin. Melanin is a photo-protective pigment. This is why one gets 
a tan (skin becomes darker by long exposure to the sun), the body 
produces more melanin in order to protect the body from UV light.

The darker your skin, the better you are able to ward off the damaging 
effects of the sun's rays.

There are a variety of causes to the braod catagory of albinism as can 
be noted by the references below.


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