Researchers Identify Genomic Variant Associated with Sun Sensitivity, Brown Hair, Blue Eyes and Freckles

Researchers have identified a genomic variant strongly associated with sensitivity to the sun, brown hair, blue eyes — and freckles. In the study of Icelanders the researchers uncovered an intricate pathway involving the interspersed DNA sequence, or non-coding region, of a gene that is among a few dozen that are associated with human pigmentation traits. The study by an international team including researchers from the National Institutes of Health was reported in the journal Cell [1].

Brown hair blue eyes freckles

Genetic Test Results Do Not Trigger Increased Use of Health Services

People have increasing opportunities to participate in genetic testing that can indicate their range of risk for developing a disease. Receiving these results does not appreciably drive up or diminish test recipients’ demand for potentially costly follow-up health services, according to a study performed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues at other institutions.

Genetic Testing

Genetic Link Predisposes to Mesothelioma

An investigation led by scientists at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, and Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia has identified germline mutations in the BAP1 gene that predispose individuals to malignant mesothelioma. The research, published online yesterday in Nature Genetics, describes two U.S. families with a high incidence of mesothelioma, as well as other cancers, associated with mutations of the gene BAP1 [1].


Scientists have discovered that individuals who carry a mutation in a gene called BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) are susceptible to developing two forms of cancer — mesothelioma and melanoma of the eye. When these individuals are exposed to asbestos or similar mineral fibers, their risk of developing mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen, may be markedly increased.