Genetic and environmental factors are involved in the determination of skin pigmentation in humans. With the recent development of statistical and genetic tools in mapping complex traits in humans, it is becoming feasible to utilize such methods in identifying genes involved in skin pigmentation. Furthermore, the use of new portable reflectance spectroscopy instruments such as the Photovolt ColorWalk colorimeter allows researchers to measure skin reflectance of a large number of subjects with ease and accuracy. We used a new portable instrument (Photovolt ColorWalk) to study the skin reflectance of 372 Han Chinese and 274 Tibetan individuals to establish background reflectance measurements of unexposed skin of the inner upper arm in these two populations. In addition, we explored the effect of various factors such as age and gender on skin reflectance.
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