Pigeon color genes could teach us about human skin pigments

Mutations in key genes determine feather color in domestic pigeons, and the same genes control pigmentation of human skin, U.S. researchers say.
“Mutations in these genes can be responsible for skin diseases and conditions such as melanoma and albinism,” University of Utah biologist Michael Shapiro said.

“In humans, mutations of these genes often are considered ‘bad’ because they can cause albinism or make cells more susceptible to UV (ultraviolet sunlight) damage and melanoma because the protective pigment is absent or low,” study lead author Eric Domyan said. “In pigeons, mutations of these same genes cause different feather colors, and to pigeon hobbyists that is a very good thing.”

Read the full original story: Genetic study of pigeon color could yield clues to human skin diseases

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