The function of melanin or six blind people examine an elephant.

@article{Hill1992TheFO,
  title={The function of melanin or six blind people examine an elephant.},
  author={Helene Z. Hill},
  journal={BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology},
  year={1992},
  volume={14 1},
  pages={
          49-56
        }
}
  • H. Hill
  • Published 1992
  • Chemistry, Medicine
  • BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
The pigment melanin is found in all living kingdoms and in many different structures and forms. When its various functions are examined separately, its behaviors seem disparate and conflicting. It has a clear role in camouflage and sexual display. Other major roles are examined critically. It can act as a sun screen but is not a very effective one. It can also scavenge active chemical species, but this, too, is not done very effectively. It produces active radicals that can damage DNA. It binds… 
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References

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TLDR
Observations have indicated that the melanins play an active, rather than passive, role in biological systems and intensive study of their properties should lead to better understanding of their functions in vivo.
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TLDR
Melanin is a textbook example of an amorphous semiconductor, exhibiting such properties as threshold and memory switching and strong electron-phonon coupling, according to solid-state physicists.
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TLDR
Results indicate that melanins can compete for base- and nucleoside-damaging free radicals more effectively than other cellular macromolecules.
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TLDR
The TR activity in a random population of 30 healthy volunteers with different skin types and the findings were compared with the expected rates for the individuals' skin types support the previous molecular experiments on the control of melanin biosynthesis by TR in the epidermis.
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TLDR
The melanin binding implies that AFB1 is retained in pigmented tissues at higher concentrations than in any other tissue of the body.
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TLDR
Detailed analysis of transient changes in melanin absorbance was demonstrated to be a convenient method for studying redox processes of this substance, as shown by model experiments using ferricyanide and dithionite as oxidising and reducing agents, respectively.
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TLDR
The role of melanocytes is investigated by studying its development in a mouse mutant, viable dominant spotting, which is known to have a primary neural crest defect leading to an absence of recognisable melanocytes in the skin, and this is the clearest demonstration yet of a role for migratory melanocytes other than their role in pigmentation.
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TLDR
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TLDR
The finding of oxidative DNA damage in melanin‐containing cells suggests that melanin may be implicated in the etiology of Caucasian skin cancer, particularly melanoma, and the projected decrease in stratospheric ozone could impact in an unanticipated deleterious manner on dark‐skinned individuals.
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TLDR
The theory is put forward that the melanin affinity of certain substances can be of both therapeutic and ototoxic importance as well as in studies in vitro on isolated bovine eye melanin.
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