Our knowledge about the function of the melanocyte has expanded beyond boundaries not previously imagined. The melanocyte is no longer considered merely a factory for the production of the pigment melanin. Old data do not contradict the new but must be reinterpreted in light of modern conceptsof molecular and cellular biology, enzymology, biochemistry, chemistry, and physics. Diseases of the pigmentary system must be understood in terms of modern science. The editors, each with special knowledge of the pigmentary system, have combined their expertise and talents to produce a book thatwill serve as the ultimate resource for the study of all aspects of pigment cell biology. There is no comprehensive, scholarly reference available which compiles both old and new data into a single source. This book fills that void. There are monographs to assist dermatologists caring forindividuals with disorders of pigmentation, and textbooks with an introductory chapter on the physiology of pigmentation and a clinical chapter on the disorders manifested by common abnormalities of the pigmentary system. These resources continue to be invaluable, however they are written for aspecific type and level of audience. This volume is encyclopedic in scope, so that the biologist, chemist, cosmetic scientist, and clinician, whether novice or sophisticated expert, can peruse any section of the book with confidence that it contains most of the worlds knowledge on pigmentation,including historical work. The bibliographies are also prepared to be as comprehensive and all-inclusive as possible. The first part of the book brings together the molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and physiology of the normal melanocyte as known in the 1990s. Thesecond part continues this theme, presenting a comprehensive discussion of most disorders of pigmentation described to date. Information about pathophysiology, treatment and other clinical data is included. The goal of the editors is to provide the ultimate reference for practicing physicians whocare for patients with the rarest or most common disorders of pigmentation, the laboratory scientist studying disease in order to help the study of basic processes which affect the pigmentary system, and the cosmetic scientist who seeks comprehensive information on the pharmacopoeia available fortreating pigmentary disorders. All specialists interested in some aspect of the pigmentary system can seek current answers to questions related to their work.