What is Melanin?

1 min read
What is Melanin? Blog Image


An Indian-origin researcher, along with his team recently identified 135 new melanin genes associated with pigmentation.

About Melanin:


  • Melanin is a substance in your body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation.
  • It is present in human and animal skin to varying degrees, and is responsible for your unique eye, hair and skin color.
  • It also absorbs harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays and protects your cells from sun damage.
  • Melanin is produced within special structures called melanosomes. Melanosomes are found inside melanin-producing pigment cells called melanocytes
  • Although all humans have the same number of melanocytes, the amount of melanin they produce differs and gives rise to the variation in human skin colour.
  • People with more melanin generally have darker skin, eyes and hair compared to those with little melanin. 
  • Types of melanin: There are three different types of melanin, including:
    • Eumelanin:
      • There are two types of eumelanin: black and brown. Eumelanin is responsible for dark colors in skin, eyes and hair.
      • People with brown or black hair have varying amounts of brown and black eumelanin.
      • It provides protection against UV radiation by absorbing and dispersing it.
    • Pheomelanin:
      • It is responsible for lighter colors, such as red and yellow.
      • It is less effective at protecting against UV radiation compared to eumelanin.
    • Neuromelanin: While eumelanin and pheomelanin control the colors of things you see (such as skin, hair and eyes), neuromelanin is responsible for the color of your neurons.


Q1) What is a Neuron?

A neuron, also known as a nerve cell, is a specialized cell that is fundamental to the functioning of the nervous system in animals, including humans. Neurons are responsible for transmitting and processing electrical and chemical signals, enabling communication between different parts of the body and facilitating various physiological and cognitive functions.

Source: Indian-Origin Researcher Vivek Bajpai Identifies 135 New Melanin Genes Responsible for Pigmentation