Tuesday, February 05, 2008

All blue-eyed people share one common ancestor

I read with fascination a recent article from The Register titled All blue-eyed people share one common ancestor. As someone with blue eyes, it was nice to learn where my eyes came from in the first place. Professor Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen is the person behind a team working on this discovery.

I am quit pleased to learn that I am closely related to all the blue-eyed people on the planet. It is also nice to know now that I am a mutant that originated from a small gene change 6-10 thousand years ago!

From the article:

The proof that all blue-eyed people have a common ancestor comes from the fact that whereas eye colours ranging from brown to green are caused by relatively large differences in the amount of melanin in the iris, controlled by "considerable individual variation" in the area of the DNA responsible for melanin production, the variation in iris melanin levels across all blue-eyed individuals is very small.

Eiberg elaborated: “From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor. They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA.”

Eiberg noted that the blue eyes mutation is neither "positive nor negative", since it doesn't affect chances of survival. He concluded: "It simply shows that nature is constantly shuffling the human genome, creating a genetic cocktail of human chromosomes and trying out different changes as it does so.”

No comments: