For the first time, scientists have measured the different types of genomic DNA changes that occur in skin cells, finding that mutations from ultraviolet (UV) light is especially common, but Black individuals have lower levels of UV damage compared to white people. Dmitry Gordenin and colleagues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, report these findings January 14 in PLOS Genetics.
The DNA in our skin cells suffer damage from sources inside and outside the body, leading to genomic changes such as mutations that may lead to cancer. UV light is the major source of these mutations, but byproducts of cellular metabolism, like free radicals, and DNA copying errors that occur during cell division also cause genomic changes. These mutation-causing mechanisms are well known, but previously, no one had been able to accurately measure the relative contributions from each source.
In their new paper, Gordenin and his colleagues quantified the amounts of each type of genomic changes by sequencing the genomes of skin cells donated from 21 Black and white individuals, ranging in age from 25 to 79. The researchers discovered that the total amount of genomic changes from metabolic byproducts accumulates as a person gets older, while the amount of genomic changes caused by UV damage is unrelated to a person’s age. Additionally, they showed that genomic changes from UV light is common, even in skin cells typically shielded from the sun, but it was less prevalent in Black donors compared to white donors….
Is this not cause to wonder whether this is a beneficial adaptation to a normal UV environment rather than an indication of damage?
But no matter, this will be used to justify further “protection” from sunshine. Who needs vitamin D?
There is no such thing as medical research. There is only medicalized corporate PR.