What does the MC1R gene actually control?
The MC1R gene provides instructions for making a protein called the melanocortin 1 receptor. This receptor plays an important role in normal pigmentation. The receptor is primarily located on the surface of melanocytes, which are specialized cells that produce a pigment called melanin.
How rare is MC1R?
About 1 to 2 percent of the human population has red hair. Redheads have genes to thank for their tresses. Research shows red hair usually results from a mutation in a gene called MC1R, which codes for the melanocortin-1 receptor.
What is the MC1R mutation?
Loss-of-function mutations at the MC1R are associated with a switch from eumelanin to phaeomelanin production, resulting in a red or yellow coat colour. Activating mutations, in animals at least, lead to enhanced eumelanin synthesis. In man, a number of loss-of-function mutations in the MC1R have been described.
How can I increase melanin in my body?
You get vitamin A from the food you eat, especially vegetables that contain beta carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and peas. Since vitamin A also functions as an antioxidant, some researchers believe this vitamin, more than any other, may be the key to melanin production.
What enzyme converts tyrosine to melanin?
Tyrosinase is responsible for the first step in melanin production. It converts a protein building block (amino acid) called tyrosine to another compound called dopaquinone.
Can you test for MC1R gene?
The test will scan each parent’s DNA for signs of the so-called MC1R gene that causes redheadedness. “Through a simple saliva test to determine deep ancestry, we can … identify whether an individual is a carrier of any of the three common redhead variants in the gene MC1R,” said Dr.
What is pheomelanin and eumelanin?
Eumelanin is a dark pigment that predominates in black and brunette hair. Pheomelanin is a lighter pigment found in red hair, and is concentrated in the redder areas of the skin such as the lips.