Study Identifies Gene that Causes Melanoma

POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 8:57am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 11:33am

Listen up beach goers, people with dark hair who tan easily tend to dismiss warnings about spending too much time in the sun and now a study finds these sun lovers are not immune to skin cancer.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the genes of nearly 800 melanoma patients and compared them to over 300 people without the disease. They found those who carried a certain gene called MC1R were twice as likely to develop melanoma. However, the gene was the most dangerous among people normally thought to have a low risk for the disease. For example, people with dark hair, dark eyes, those who don't freckle, and who tan quickly without burning had the biggest increased risk for disease if they carried the gene.

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