Today’s poison: Medical Genetics- Inborn errors of metabolism to be exact.
Albinism is a defect whereby little or no melanin production results in little or no pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.
When doing a quick google of albinism, I found an article by the BBC, which proposed that Noah might have been an albino.
The film Noah is out now in UK cinemas, and Noah is played by Russel Crowe. It’s thought that Noah might have had variant OCA 1 (Occularcutaneous Albinism). OCA 1 is caused by a mutation in the tyrosine gene which converts tyrosine to DOPA (duhydroxy-phenylalanine). DOPA’s then converted to Dopaquinone and finally to melanin.
OCA1 is divided into two main types of mutations; OCA 1A where tyrosine’s absent and there’s no melatonin in skin or eyes, or OCA 1B whereby tyrosinase is greatly diminished but not totally absent, which causes there to be an increase in skin, hair and eye pigment with age, these patients do tan with sun exposure.
The Old Testament portrays Noah, who was ordered by God to build an ark, as having a long white beard. Some people have stated that text from the Dead Sea Scrolls elaborates further. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1946 and 1956 in a cave east of Jerusalem, and are thought to contain the earliest manuscripts of portions of the Hebrew Bible.
Within these scrolls, Noah is described as a child having “the flesh of whish was white as snow, as red as arose; the hair whose head was white like wool, and long; and whose eyes were beautiful2.
The scroll translation originates from an article written by Professor Arnold Sorsby in the British Medical Journal in 1958. Prof Sorsby is an ophthalmologic research professor, and in this article he attempted to find trace back Noah’s family tree to discover the genetic flaw that possibly caused the albinism mutation.
Many people however are thought to believe that the scroll refers to Noah’s angelic-ness rather than albinism.
Whether Noah was or was not an albino, there are mixed reviews on this film. It’s safe to say I won’t be flocking to see it!
For more information about albinism, visit www.albinism.org
Aronofsky, D., 2014. Noah.
Carden, S.M., Boissy, R.E., Schoettker, P.J., Good, W.V., 1998a. Albinism: modern molecular diagnosis. Br. J. Ophthalmol. 82, 189–195. doi:10.1136/bjo.82.2.189
Sorsby, A., 1958a. Noah–an Albino. Br. Med. J. 2, 1587–1589.