Standard Article

Skin Pigmentation: Genetics

  1. Jonathan L Rees

Published Online: 27 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0006035



How to Cite

Rees, J. L. 2006. Skin Pigmentation: Genetics. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JAN 2006


Differences in skin pigmentation are principally due to variation in the amount and type of melanin produced in cutaneous melanocytes. In humans, a large number of Mendelian disorders of pigmentation, including albinism, are now understood at a genetic level. Only one locus, the melanocortin 1 receptor, has been so far identified to contribute to normal variation in skin and hair color, but it is clear that many other loci (yet to be determined) must also play a role.


  • pigmentation;
  • skin color;
  • hair color;
  • albinism;
  • melanin