A group of scientists led by Richard Spritz from the University of Colorado Denver (USA) conducted a large-scale study, which found that predisposition to serious skin diseases can be identified by eye color.
After studying the genome of three thousand Americans of European descent with vitiligo (an autoimmune disease, which manifests itself in the violation of skin and hair pigmentation, when the human immune system attacks normal pigment cells), the scientists found that people with blue and gray eyes had a lower risk of vitiligo. At the same time, the people with brown eyes were the least susceptible to melanoma.
Geneticist Richard Spritz explains that vitiligo and melanoma are the opposites, and genetic variation in human DNA, provoking the development of vitiligo, may reduce the risk of developing melanoma, and vice versa. People with vitiligo often suffer from other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Their closest relatives are also at risk, even if vitiligo is not apparent in them. Thus, according to Spritz, there are all the prerequisites to make an unambiguous conclusion: autoimmune diseases have a genetic nature, while other genes and the environment are responsible for the time when the trigger of the disease can get activated.