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Three Genes Linked To Melanoma

LEEDS, England, Oct. 11 (UPI) — An international team of researchers led by the University of Leeds discovered the first DNA faults linked to melanoma not related to hair, skin or eye color.

Lead author Tim Bishop at the Cancer Research UK center at the University of Leeds said it was previously known that risk factors for melanoma include fair skin, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, a high number of moles, people who burn easily and those who have a family history of melanoma.

Bishop and a team from the GenoMEL consortium scanned the genes in blood samples from about 3,000 Europeans with melanoma and compared these with samples taken from the general population.

The findings, published in Nature Genetics, found the average risk of developing melanoma is about one in 60, but this rises to one in 46 among people who have both copies of all three gene faults.

The study found 4 percent of the population in England, about 2.3 million people, carry two copies of all three gene mutations — one copy inherited from each parent, the study said.

“We know that overexposure to ultraviolet increases the risk of developing melanoma, but this evidence shows that there are new additional genetic faults which can push up the risk further,” Bishop said in a statement. “It is fascinating to discover these new melanoma risk factors — and we expect that the results of similar studies underway will reveal even more.”

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