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Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin. While most of us have probably met an albino person, few people know that albinism also occurs in animals. Albino animals are very rare though. Scientists estimate that in mammals, for example, albinism occurs once out of 10,000 births. Another reason why albino animals are so scarce is because the disorder drastically reduces their survival rate. Due to their strikingly light skin color, albino animals can be easily picked out by predators and the absence of pigment also makes them much more prone to skin cancer and some other diseases. On the other hand, their rarity makes some albino animals very popular and pricey pets. In fact, some laboratory animals such as mice are even purposely bred to be albino. Some of the animals on this list are albinos.
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