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Name: Peggy M Siemers
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Question:
What is the chemical composition of Melanin by specific amino acids, or the DNA code for melanin?



Replies:
This is a good question! The answer is somewhat complex and I'm sure I don't have all the details but here goes... First, there is not a specific DNA code for melanin because like many biomolecules, it is not the result of a single gene product. People that are deficient in melanin are oculo/dermal albinos and I believe there have been seven different types of mutations. These different mutations reflect the multiple steps required to produce melanin. The original building block for melanin is tyrosine, one of the amino acids. This amino acid is modified by enzymes to produce the building block (monomer) for melanin synthesis by a process called polymerization that is also controlled by an enzyme. The polymers ,I believe, can attain diff3erent lengths and they can also form aggregates of different sizes alone and in combination with other molecules such as proteins. This is in part responsible for differences in coloration seen within and between individuals. NEWTON RULES!

Michael B Lomonaco



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