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