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Did you know we're related?

You wish you had my genes…

No I'll stay in mine thank you very much.

Ok all kidding aside, we're related because we both have blue eyes.


Yes. We're both related to someone who lived about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago with a genetic mutation that resulted in the first blue eyes on the planet. This means we're both related to Frank Sinatra and Angelina Jolie...pretty cool isn't it?

Probably not for them!

This study was done by Dr. Han Eiberg at the University of Copenhagen. He discovered our ancestor most likely lived in the north-west part of the Black Sea region. And up until that mutation, everyone had brown eyes.

Eye color is determined by the amount of a pigment called melanin in the iris of the eye. The blue eyed mutation is in a gene called HERC2 that ultimately regulates melanin production.

A mutation in that gene reduces melanin in the iris and caused brown eyes to turn blue.

The scientists were able to determine that the mutation originated in a single person by comparing the HERC2 gene. But they went further and looked at the mitochondrial DNA from the power plant of the cell whose genes are passed down from the mother.

These scientists compared the DNA of blue eyed Scandinavians to blue eyed people from the Middle East and determined they all came from the same woman.

This one gene model doesn't cover all the eye colors - blues, greens, grays, blue with brown flecks, and so on - indicating that there are more genes involved.

But for now, we know what gave rise to one of these colors..so let's go call our cousin Bill Clinton.

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For more information…

Science Daily reported on the research by the scientists from the University of Copenhagen who reported that all blue eyed persons arose from a one woman who lived 6-10,000 years ago. She had suffered a mutation in a gene called OCA2 that reduces the amount of melanin produced, making brown eyes blue.
For more information…

Science magazine also reported on the findings in their Daily News Archive here and Science Blog also covered the story here.

For an explanation about genetics and mutations that resulted in the blue eye color, visit here.

However, eye color is not so simple. The myriad of eye colors we see are the result of not just one gene, but several which is explained in a report here.

If you are interested in human genetics and want to learn more… here are some places to go on the web to learn more:
For more information… 1
For more information… 2
For more information… 3
For more information… 4


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