[FoRK] Re: Re: ABCNEWS.com: Now, the Sun Prevents Skin Cancer --Right?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew
Thu Jul 7 11:03:26 PDT 2005



> Corinna:
> > What about people who have light skin that tans
> > easily? Sounds like they have the best situation
> > -- self-regulating skin...
> 
> Yep. It works quite well. But we look really funny
> naked, with a white torso and brown limbs.


That is why I mow the lawn in the buff -- the neighbors disapprove of
wild-n-crazy tan lines.

I have all the appearance of and hallmarks of someone from northern
Europe including the very light skin, primarily a Scottish/Polish/Irish
mutt, but I've long benefitted from the fact that my very fair skin
quickly tans rather than burns.  Since my family has been in the US some
300 years and there are known to be traces of Cherokee and similar in
the mix, I've always assumed that this particular property is a mixin
from one of the non-pasty peoples in my genetics.

Quickness of tanning seems like it would be a (beneficial) genetic
feature independent of the baseline skin tone.  In evolutionary terms,
it has only been very recently that people routinely started making
significant moves between latitudes such that there would be an
evolutionary pressure to select for the ability to rapidly adapt to
ambient UV levels.  Most of the heavy-lifting in the genome was
historically done by baseline skin tone, probably because it is a
simpler mechanism (pure speculation on my part).


j. andrew rogers



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