Essay about Albinism

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Albinism is a congenital disorder where there is a complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes because of the absence or defect in the enzyme that produces melanin. Melanin is responsible for pigment in plants, animals, and protists. Albinism in man has been described by many Greek and Roman writers, and the first accurate scientific paper about it was written in 1908 by Sir Archibald Garrod. Most people only think of humans in the case of albinism, but in reality, it affects humans as well as plants and animals. In plants, Albinism is the total or partial absence of chlorophyll. Because there is an inadequate amount of chlorophyll, photosynthesis is impaired. As a result, plants with albinism
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Animals with albinism suffer from a damaged TYR gene, which causes an unreliable production of melanin. Pure white, light eyed albino animals have a TYR gene that does not function, resulting in no tyrosinase production and no pigmentation. In other albinos the TYR gene allows some tyrosinase and causes melanin to increase as the animal grows. They show some color on fur or skin, but their eyes will still be lightly colored. Even though the TYR gene is a main determinate of melanin production, there are other genes that can cause variants of albinism. All traits for albinism are recessive. Because albino animals do not have pigmentation of normal animals, it may be harder for them to survive in the wild. Sometimes they are captured easily, and other times they are not. For example, other animals would not recognize an albino skunk as a skunk until too late. Because normal skunks are black with a white stripe, albino skunks can better defend themselves. By the time a predator gets close enough to realize that it is a skunk, the skunk will use its defense mechanism, odorous liquid. In other cases, albinism can be more harmful. Albino birds, for instance, have trouble mating (Binkley). Because many albino animals do not survive well in the wild, humans sometimes feel the need to protect them. For example, there is an Albino Squirrel Preservation Society (ASPS). This organization focuses on protecting albino