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 farther from 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 2,200 Icelanders, scientists identified the new variant around the IRF4 gene which 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.
[ Read the Article: Genetic Variant Linked To Freckling, Sun Sensitivity Discovered ]