A dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.
- The body normally converts the amino acid tyrosine into the pigment melanin.
- One theory focuses on the fact that people with red hair have a different type of melanin (a skin pigment) than people with dark hair.
- The melanosomes convert tyrosine to melanin, giving skin its color.
Mid 19th century: from Greek melas, melan- 'black' + -in1.
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