Our understanding of European skin is already partially delineated: in 2005, our lab uncovered one of the most pervasive genetic mutations(SLC24A5) that contribute to the light color of European skin. Europeans also carry a 10 to 20-fold increase in melanoma susceptibility (one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer) when compared to Africans. Surprisingly, East Asians, unlike Europeans, carry a seemingly unusual protection against melanoma: their incidences of disease are similar to those of Africans, despite their relatively light skin color due to yet unknown genetic pathways. To understand this misnomer, the first step is to identify these East Asian-specific genetic mutations.
Find out more about the project at www.microryza.com/eascop