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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Redheads’ melanoma risk may be in their genes

Pity those poor redheads. The very gene that gives them their fiery tresses also predisposes them to an increased melanoma risk that has little to do with getting sunburned, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers report in a study published online last week in the journal Nature.

Instead, it appears to be due to a mutation they carry in the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R) that’s been linked in previous research to pain sensitivity and a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.

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