Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Melanoma, Malignant

An aggressive form of skin cancer that affects predominantly lightly melanized populations, especially Europeans. First signs are a mole or patch of rapidly growing skin, which metastasizes via the bloodstream. One of the predisposing genes is CDKN2, which codes for an autosomal dominant protein named p16, a checkpoint regulator of cell division. MM is also associated with the HLA-B7 haplotype (aka skin cancer, cutaneous malignant melanoma, CMM). Highest incidences of MM are in equatorial countries where lightly melanized individuals reside, e.g. New Zealand. Lowest rates (often nil) are found in highly melanized populations (e.g. Maori in New Zealand, Australian aboriginals).

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