A study in mice suggests that those among us with ginger hair and fair complexions face an elevated risk of” skin cancer “even when covered up.” The research, “published online in the journal Nature, suggests that the same reddish-yellow pigment that gives rise to rusty locks and an inability to tan is itself a potential trigger in the development of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.” Researchers tinkered with the genetic makeup of mice, giving them a mutant form of a gene that boosts the risk of melanoma. None of the mice were exposed to any ultraviolet radiation, to remove the effect of exposure.” The investigators “wanted to see if the added risk differed, depending solely on their fur color.” “In the absence of UV light, less than a quarter of both the black and the white mice developed melanoma after a year. In contrast, half the red mice had developed cancer by year’s end,” the researchers found. “The key appears to be the gene for the melanocortin 1 receptor, MC1R.” According to researcher Dr David Fisher, “We’ve known for a long time that people with red hair and fair skin have the highest melanoma risk of any skin type. These new findings do not increase that risk but identify a new mechanism to help explain it.” “The study showed “that completely avoiding UV rays would not protect red-haired people from melanoma.