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Genome-wide association study in 176,678 Europeans reveals genetic loci for tanning response to sun exposure

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Alessia Visconti, David Duffy, Fan Liu, Gu Zhu, Wenting Wu, Yan Chen, Pirro Hysi, Changqing Zeng, Marianna Sanna, Mark M Iles, Peter A. Kanetsky, Florence Demenais, Merel A Hamer, Andre G. Uitterlinden, M. Arfan Ikram, Tamar E C Nijsten, Nicholas G. Martin, Manfred Kayser, Timothy David Spector, Jiali Han & 2 more Veronique Bataille, Mario Falchi

Original languageEnglish
Article number1684
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2018


King's Authors


The skin’s tendency to sunburn rather than tan is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Here we report a large genome-wide association study of ease of skin tanning in 176,678 subjects of European ancestry. We identify significant association with tanning ability at 20 loci. We confirm previously identified associations at six of these loci, and report 14 novel loci, of which ten have never been associated with pigmentation-related phenotypes. Our results also suggest that variants at the AHR/AGR3 locus, previously associated with cutaneous malignant melanoma the underlying mechanism of which is poorly understood, might act on disease risk through modulation of tanning ability.

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