Albinism: What Is Inherited?
The term “albino” refers to someone with a lack of melanin pigment in their skin or hair. Melanin is responsible for producing color in the human body. When it comes to skin, there are two types of melanins: eumelanin (red) and pheomelanin (yellow). These pigments are found only in certain parts of the body. In human hair, there are thousands of different types of melanin that cause people to have their own unique color.
What is Albinism?
Albinism occurs when someone is missing an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of melanins. When someone is born with a “deficiency”, they are considered an albino.
At least four types of albinism are known to exist. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is the most common type. Ocular albinism only effects the eyes. Oculocutaneous albinism (which literally means “affecting the eyes and skin” Albino is present in many species, one of the most well-known being the white squirrel.
There are also different types of albinism:
Sources & references used in this article:
- Albinism: modern molecular diagnosis (SM Carden, RE Boissy, PJ Schoettker… – British Journal of …, 1998 – bjo.bmj.com)
- Prenatal diagnosis of oculocutaneous albinism by electron microscopy of fetal skin (RAJ Eady, DB Gunner, A Garner, CH Rodeck – Journal of Investigative …, 1983 – Elsevier)
- Albinism (CJ Witkop Jr – Clinics in dermatology, 1989 – Elsevier)
- Diagnosis of oculocutaneous albinism with molecular analysis (CG Summers, WS Oetting, RA King – American journal of ophthalmology, 1996 – ajo.com)
- Prenatal diagnosis of oculocutaneous albinism by analysis of the fetal tyrosinase gene (H Shimizu, H Niizeki, K Suzumori, R Aozaki… – Journal of investigative …, 1994 – Elsevier)