Ever wonder why some people get freckles (or dark, small spots on our skin) and others don't? It has a lot to do with our skin's sensitivity to sunlight, which is mediated by our genes.

One study involving people of European descent suggests that freckles are linked to genetic variation in a few genes, two of which are also associated with sun sensitivity. In another study, freckling was also associated with another loci near a gene that may be regulating the production of keratin (the main protein that makes up hair). Across the board, most of the genes found to be associated with freckles are related to pigmentation (such as eye and hair color). So these physical traits may be going hand in hand.

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