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Suntan Gene Discovered

Posted: March 29, 2007

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"The induction of beta-endorphin appears to be hard-wired to the tanning pathway," Fisher says in a Cell Press news release. "This might explain addictive behaviors associated with sun-seeking or the use of tanning salons."

The study appears in Cell, along with an editorial by experts including Moshe Oren, PhD, of the molecular cell biology department at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.

One day, skin lotions may be able to activate p53 just enough to trigger tanning without allowing UV damage, the editorialists note.

In the Cell Press news release, Fisher says he is involved in a small biotechnology company working to develop such a product.

SOURCES: Cui, R. Cell, March 9, 2007; vol 128: pp 853-864. Oren, M. Cell, March 9, 2007; vol 128: pp 826-828. News release, Cell Press. News release, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.