Does the Melanin Pigment of Human Skin Have Adaptive Value?: An Essay in Human Ecology and the Evolution of Race

@article{Blum1961DoesTM,
  title={Does the Melanin Pigment of Human Skin Have Adaptive Value?: An Essay in Human Ecology and the Evolution of Race},
  author={Harold Francis Blum},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  year={1961},
  volume={36},
  pages={50 - 63}
}
  • H. Blum
  • Published 1 March 1961
  • Biology
  • The Quarterly Review of Biology
The widely accepted idea that melanin pigment in human skin protects against sunlight, and that this has bearing upon adaptation to life in the tropics and the distribution of races, is a examined in terms of its physical and Physiological aspects. Regarded in such terms the concept appears to have little merit. It is concluded that whereas the pigment may have a slight adaptive value as regards some aspects of the organism-environment relationship, it may be non-adaptive as regards others; and… 

Racial differences in pigmentation and natural selection

  • M. Deol
  • Biology
    Annals of human genetics
  • 1975
There is strong evidence for inter-specific homology of pigmentation loci in mammals, and the situation in man may not be radically different from that in other mammals, particularly the experimental species.

Adaptation and co‐adaptation of skin pigmentation and vitamin D genes in native Americans

It is argued that a gene network approach provides tools to explain human skin color variation since it indicates potential alleles co‐evolving in a compensatory way, and since food is also a source of vitamin D, dietary habits should also be considered.

Skin: Its Biology in Black and White

The study of skin and skin colour evolution in humans thus relies on evidence from comparative study of the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the skin of living people and primates, along with the comparativeStudy of the genes that determine these characteristics.

The evolution of human skin colouration and its relevance to health in the modern world.

  • N. Jablonski
  • Biology
    The journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
  • 2012
The range of pigmentation observed in modern humans today is the product of two opposing clines, one favoring photoprotection near the equator, the other favoring vitamin D photosynthesis nearer the poles.

The Evolutionary History of Human Skin Pigmentation

The genetic basis of skin color is less simple than previously thought and that geographic variation in skin pigmentation was influenced by the concerted action of different types of natural selection, rather than just by selective sweeps in a few key genes.

Evidence that stress to the epidermal barrier influenced the development of pigmentation in humans

Wide distribution, plurifunctionality, and conservation throughout vertebrate evolution implies roles for melanin that extend beyond a need for defense against genotoxic or photolytic doses of ultraviolet light exposure.

Was skin cancer a selective force for black pigmentation in early hominin evolution?

  • M. Greaves
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
Data on age-associated cancer incidence and lethality in albinos living at low latitudes in both Africa and Central America support the contention that skin cancer could have provided a potent selective force for the emergence of black skin in early hominins.

The adaptive response of human skin to the savanna

This work views the structure and function of human skin within a comparative and evolutionary framework that focuses on the environment in which the hominids evolved.

Evolution of Skin Pigmentation Differences in Humans

Genetic data indicate that the light pigmentation that characterizes populations in Europe and East Asia has evolved independently through positive selection, and that functional variation in pigmentation genes in high UVR populations has likely been subject to purifying selection.
...

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