A recessive hereditary trait which presents as white hair due to defective melanin production thought to be caused by a mutation within genes.
Albinos have no melanin pigment and do not tan but their skin is otherwise considered normal.
Albinism affects people from all races.
Melanin is a skin pigment which absorbs ultraviolet radiation. It is produced in melanocytes, cells present in hair follicles which convert the amino acid - Tyrosine into Melanin pigment.
There are two types of pigment: Eumelanin (black-brown) and Pheomelanin (red-blond).
Tyrosinase is the major enzyme responsible for the formation of Melanin pigment viz:
Tyrosin > DOPA > Dopaquinone > Eumelanin or Pheomelanin
The development of a suntan occurs as melanin pigment is increased in the skin.
Prof. B Stevens FTTS