Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Group of cystine-rich insoluble proteins, a major constituent of the outer layers of skin, claws, feathers, horn, antlers, hoofs, nails, and insect silk. In humans, there are more than 20 keratins that are synthesized by epithelial cells. Different forms of keratin may be soft (e.g. hair) or hard (e.g.) nails.

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