Feeds

All blue-eyed people share one common ancestor

Genetic mutation responsible for Sinatra

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A University of Copenhagen team has identified the gene which around 6-10,000 years ago underwent a genetic mutation in one individual who eventually gave rise to all blue-eyed people.

Professor Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine began his research in 1996, when he "first implicated the OCA2 gene as being responsible for eye colour", as ScienceDaily puts it.

Over the next decade, he and his colleagues "examined mitochondrial DNA and compared the eye colour of blue-eyed individuals" in countries including Denmark, Jordan and Turkey.

Eiberg explained: “Originally, we all had brown eyes. But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a 'switch', which literally 'turned off' the ability to produce brown eyes."

Specifically, ScienceDaily explains, the OCA2 gene "codes for the so-called P protein, which is involved in the production of melanin". The “switch”, located in the gene adjacent to OCA2, doesn't turn off the gene entirely, but "limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris", thus “diluting” brown eyes to blue.

That the switch doesn't entirely disable the OCA2 gene is significant, because a complete shut-down of melanin production would result in albinism.

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.” ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.