Hidden Redhead Gene & Skin Cancer

July 21, 2016

New research from the Sanger Institute in the UK reveals people can carry a "silent" red hair gene that raises their risk of sun-related skin cancer, experts warn. While people with two copies of the gene will have ginger hair, freckles and pale skin and probably know to take extra care in the sun, those with one copy may not realise they are at risk. The researchers looked at more than 400 tumour samples from patients who had been diagnosed with melanoma. They found that the patients who had at least one copy of a genetic variant of MC1R had 42% more sun-associated mutations in their cancers than individuals without these variations - equivalent to the toll of an additional 21 years in the sun. Read the full story by Michelle Roberts, BBC Health Editor.


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