Where Do Blue Eyes Come From?
- Pieter Maas
Blog 1. Only 8 Percent of the World’s Population Has Blue Eyes If you have got blue eyes, you might just belong to one of the world’s most exclusive groups without realising it! Since blue eyes are genetically recessive, only 8 percent of the world’s population has blue eyes.
- While blue eyes are significantly less common than brown eyes worldwide, they are frequently found from nationalities located near the Baltic Sea in northern Europe.2.
- There is No Blue Pigment in Blue Irises The colour of our eyes depends on how much melanin is present in the iris.
- Blue eyes get their colour the same way water and the sky get their blue colour — they scatter light so that more blue light reflects back out.
The iris is made up of two layers. For almost everyone — even people with blue eyes — the back layer (called the pigment epithelium) has brown pigment in it. The front layer of the iris (called the stroma) is made up of overlapping fibers and cells. For people with brown eyes, some of the cells also have brown pigment in them.
If there is no pigment at all in this front layer, the fibers scatter and absorb some of the longer wavelengths of light that come in. More blue light gets back out and the eyes appear to be blue.3. Blue Eyes are More Sensitive to Light Melanin in the iris of the eye appears to help protect the back of the eye from damage caused by UV radiation and high-energy visible “blue” light from sunlight and artificial sources of these rays.
Since blue eyes contain less melanin than green, hazel or brown eyes, photophobia is more prevalent in blue eyes compared to darker coloured eyes. For these reasons, having less melanin in your irises means that you need to protect your eyes more from the sun’s UV rays.
Therefore, it is recommended to those with blue eyes to stay out of the sun for long periods of time and try to wear protective eyewear when you are outdoors.4. All Blue-Eyed People May Have A Common Ancestor Originally we all had brown eyes, however, according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, it appears that a genetic mutation in a single individual in Europe 6,000 to 10,000 years ago led to the development of blue eyes.
Therefore, we can conclude that this genetic mutation is the cause of eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today. What is the genetic mutation? A genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a “switch”, which “turned off” the ability to produce brown eyes.
- The OCA2 gene codes for the ‘P protein’, which is involved in the production of melanin (the pigment that determines the colour of our eyes, skin and hair).
- The “switch”, does not, however, turn off the gene entirely, but rather limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris – effectively “diluting” brown eyes to blue.
According to Hans Eiberg, associate professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Copenhagen, “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.” 5.
Blue Eyes at Birth Doesn’t Mean Blue Eyes For Life While blue eyes may be rare, they’re among the most common eye colours at birth. Since the human eye does not have its full adult amount of pigment at birth, most Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes. However, since human melanin tends to develop over time — this causes the child’s eye colour to change as more melanin is produced in the iris during early childhood.6.
People With Blue Eyes May Have a Higher Risk of Alcoholism A new study suggests that individuals with blue eyes are at a higher risk for alcohol dependency compared to those with darker eyes. Therefore, this finding adds further evidence to the idea that alcoholism has a genetic component.
- A study published in American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics found that European Americans with blue eyes had up to 83 percent higher odds of becoming dependent on alcohol, compared with matched controls who had darker eye colours.
- This research suggests that alcoholism has a genetic component linked to genetic sequences that determine eye colour, which may help explain the association.
However, at this stage, the reason for the correlation is still unknown and further research is required to fully understand this correlation in the findings.7. You Can’t Predict the Colour of Your Child’s Eyes Since it was once believed that eye colour — including blue eyes — was a simple genetic trait, many people used to believe that blue-eyed people could only have blue-eyed children.
- Before geneticists fully understood how human eye colour inheritance works, a child’s eye colour to used be used as a paternity test — based on the assumption that you could predict a child’s eye colour if you knew the colour of the parents’ eyes and perhaps the colour of the grandparents’ eyes.
- But geneticists now know that this concept is far more complicated, as eye colour is influenced by an interaction of as many as 16 different genes — not just one or two genes as once thought.
Additionally, the anatomic structure of the iris can also influence eye colour to some degree. In summary, it’s impossible to know for sure if your children will have blue eyes. Even if you and your partner both have blue eyes, that’s no guarantee your child’s eyes will also be blue.
What nationality does blue eyes come from?
How one ancestor helped turn our brown eyes blue Everyone with blue eyes alive today – from Angelina Jolie to Wayne Rooney – can trace their ancestry back to one person who probably lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region, a study has found.
This indicates that the mutation originated in just one person who became the ancestor of all subsequent people in the world with blue eyes, according to a study by Professor Hans Eiberg and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen.The scientists are not sure when the mutation occurred but other evidence suggested it probably arose about 10,000 years ago when there was a rapid expansion of the human population in Europe as a result of the spread of agriculture from the Middle East.”The mutations responsible for blue eye colour most likely originate from the north-west part of the Black Sea region, where the great agricultural migration of the northern part of Europe took place in the Neolithic periods about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago,” the researchers report in the journal Human Genetics.
Professor Eiberg said that brown is the “default” colour for human eyes which results from a build-up of the dark skin pigment, melanin. However, in northern Europe a mutation arose in a gene known as OCA2 that disrupted melanin production in the iris and caused the eye colour to become blue.
Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Eiberg. “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.” Variations in the colour of people’s eyes can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes, he said.
“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,” said Professor Eiberg. Men and women with blue eyes have almost exactly the same genetic sequence in the part of the DNA responsible for eye colour.
- However, brown-eyed people, by contrast, have a considerable amount of individual variation in that area of DNA.
- Professor Eiberg said he has analysed the DNA of about 800 people with blue eyes, ranging from fair-skinned, blond-haired Scandinavians to dark-skinned, blue-eyed people living in Turkey and Jordan.
“All of them, apart from possibly one exception, had exactly the same DNA sequence in the region of the OCA2 gene. This to me indicates very strongly that there must have been a single, common ancestor of all these people,” he said. It is not known why blue eyes spread among the population of northern Europe and southern Russia.
Where was the first blue-eyed human from?
Behind Blue Eyes: A Look at the Genetic and Cultural Components that Propelled the Spread of Blue-Eyed Humans
- This thoroughly-researched piece is by Sarah Henry, an instructor at Delaware County Community College and tour guide at the Mütter Museum.-KI
I have blue eyes and I have always been interested in exploring my own genetic origins, but I’m not the only one interested in this genetic trait. Countless songs and poems reference people with blue eyes, whether considered a mark of beauty, a representation of sadness, or, in certain cultures, a sign of the oppressor.
- But blue eyes, so popular in art, are relatively new in human evolution, as new as the invention of writing itself.
- My interest in this subject was sparked, in part, by a unique archaeological discovery; in 2006, researchers uncovered the world’s oldest confirmed blue-eyed person, dating to approximately 7,000 years ago.
This discovery helped to confirm theories regarding the familial relationship of nearly all blue-eyed individuals. This article will exam the genetic origins of blue eyes in humans, the spread of the blue-eyed gene, and the future of this genetic trait.
Genetics: How Do They Work? The basic explanation of eye-color works like this: a person needs only one dominant brown-eyed gene (from one parent) to be brown-eyed but needs to have two recessive blue-eyed genes (one from each parent) to be blue-eyed. You have probably seen this explanation accompanied by a simple Punnet square (Image 1) in your science textbooks.
However, new studies illustrate that the genetics behind eye color are not so straightforward. There are actually two separate genes that control eye color in humans. In his article, “Blue Eye Color in Humans,” Hans Eiberg writes, “Blue/Brown eye-color are known to the public as a school example of inheritance of monogenetic inheritance, however, the variation in pigment concentration and the iris suggest the eye color genetics to be far more complex as supported by recent data.” In other words, eye color is controlled not by one gene passed from parent to offspring, but by two genes working in tandem; a more complex chart would take both of these genes into consideration (Image 2).
These genes are called OCA2 and HERC2 (represented as O, o, H and h in Image 2). The simplified explanation is that the OCA2 gene controls pigment in the stroma (the tissue and blood vessels) of the iris (the colored part of the eye around the pupil) and the HERC2 gene is needed to help turn on the OCA2 gene to cause it to produce this pigment, resulting in brown eyes.
If a person has a non-functioning OCA2 gene, they will always have blue eyes, because the HERC2 gene can’t make the broken OCA2 gene work. Likewise, if a person has a HERC2 gene which doesn’t work, the OCA2 gene will “underachieve,” failing to produce enough pigment to make brown eyes, resulting in blue eyes.
These two genes aren’t directly related to each other, yet they affect each other. In this dependent relationship, both of these genes must work to give an individual brown eyes, a genetic relationship known as “epistasis.” Because of this process, it is actually possible (although rare) for two blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child.
- How Do We Know All Blue-eyed People Are Related?
Homo sapiens (modern humans) emerged around 200,000 years ago in Africa, but the mutation that causes blue eyes did not appear until sometime around 10,000 years ago. In a study conducted by Professor Hans Eiberg and a team from the University of Copenhagen, researchers examined mitochondrial DNA from 155 blue-eyed subjects from Denmark, two from Jordan, five from Turkey, and 45 brown-eyed candidates, looking at the locus (specific location or position of a gene) responsible for brown or blue eyes.
The result was the discovery that more than 97% of blue-eyed people share the single H-1 haplotype (a group of genes within an organism that was inherited together from a single parent). Eiberg and his team write, “A shared haplotype among blue-eyed individuals is almost perfect and suggests the blue color phenotype is caused by a founder mutation.” This means that the vast majority of people with blue eyes share a single inherited genetic mutation, rather than each person with blue eyes possessing a unique mutation.
The study also tested seven blue-eyed Mediterranean individuals unrelated to the Danish participants as a control group. They, too, carried the H-1 haplotype. These individuals with the H-1 haplotype all inherited the same switch at the same location in their genetic coding, whereas, brown-eyed individuals have a number of variations in melanin production and DNA, with brown-eyed phenotypes being spread out between haplotypes H-5 and H-10.
- In short, almost all blue-eyed people came from a single ancestor, which is proven by the possession of the exact mutation at the same location in their genetic coding.
- That leads us back to the blue-eyed man from the article that sparked this entire investigation.
- Why is This Stone Age Body in Spain so Important? In 2006, researchers discovered a 7,000 year old body from the Stone Age in the La Brana cave system in Leon in Northern Spain (Image 4).
Genetic testing determined that this man had blue eyes. It was not in itself unusual, but what is remarkable is that he is the earliest known person with blue eyes. Far from being a fair-haired, far-skinned man that we may have expected, his genetics reveal he’s a mixture of other traits. In order to answer this question, we need to delve into Stone Age migratory patterns. According to Pickrell and Reich, there are two theories of cultural migration: Demographic Stasis vs. Demographic Change. In Demographic Stasis, inhabitants living in a particular region are the descendants of the first people to arrive in that region, meaning the people in a certain area were never integrated into or replaced by people from a second migration. Specifically, we can see this during the Neolithic (New Stone Age) Revolution, a period of time where humans began to cultivate crops, domesticate animals, and use polished stone tools. Prior to the Neolithic Revolution, almost all the world’s inhabitants subsisted primarily by hunting and gathering, but after the Neolithic Revolution, small pockets of farming emerged, first in the Fertile Crescent, China, and India and then spreading across Eurasia.
- The Neolithic Revolution occurred between 6,000-10,000 years ago, and because people were better able to procure a steady source of food, the population increased significantly.
- The technologies which emerged during this time allow archaeologists and researchers to track cultural migration from the northwestern part of the Black Sea region (where the first humans with blue eyes lived) into the rest of Europe.
A study of Armenian haplotypes determined, “.hospitable climatic conditions and the key geographic position of the Armenian Highland suggest that it may have served as a conduit for several waves of expansion of the first agriculturalists from the Near East to Europe and the North Caucasus.” People migrated out of the Caucuses (modern-day Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) and into other parts of Europe (Image 6). Another study, focusing specifically on the genetics of residents of the Iberian Peninsula (excluding the Basques), indicates a mixture of genetic traits from the Caucuses, Central Asia and North Africa, probably related to migration during the Neolithic Era.
A study of eight Bronze Age individuals dated to between 5,500 and 3,500 years ago shows an admixture between existing hunter-gatherer groups and people from later migrations, meaning people who migrated to this area began to blend into the peoples that already lived there by blending both their culture and genetics.
Why Did this Recessive Genetic Trait Survive for Thousands of Years? How did the blue-eyed gene persist if there’s no overt evolutionary advantage to possessing it? One argument would be that those original groups of people who possessed blue eyes produced offspring with other blue-eyed people in their own group, leading to a population where blue eyes were the norm.
However, there are both objective and subjective benefits to possessing blue eyes. Subjectively, possessing blue eyes may just make one individual more sexually attractive to another. Objectively, blue eyes filter light differently than dark eyes (dark eyes, like dark skin, possess more pigment which can protect those organs from sun damage), which make them especially advantageous in the low light of Northern European winters.
Because people with light eyes are more sensitive to light, they can see better in areas that lack sufficient sunlight for large portions of the year. Conversely, while light sensitivity (photophobia) proved useful in a world prior to electricity, it actually opens blue-eyed people up to a host of medical problems including an increased risk of macular degeneration, which can ultimately lead to blindness because light eyes are worse at filtering out harmful UV light.
What is the future of blue eyes? At the turn of the 20 th century, 50 percent of people living in the United States had blue eyes. Now, however, people are more likely than ever to marry outside of their ethnic group, leading to more genetically diverse offspring and a decline in blue eyes due to the dominance of the brown-eyed genes.
Currently, in the U.S., only 17 percent of the population (1 in 6) has blue eyes and only between 5-8% of people worldwide possess the trait. (Green eyes are even more rare, but they are a topic for another article.) Even though they are new in human history, blue eyes are already on the decline.
Whether used to convey beauty, as one writer notes about the poetry of Longfellow and Romanticism, “It delighted in sentimental musings amid the ruins, in pathetic legend, in dreamy pictures of monks and harpers and knights and radiant maidens with soft blue eyes” or to convey sadness like in the Who song “Behind Blue Eyes,” where Roger Daltry sings, “No one knows what it’s like/ To be the bad man/ To be the sad man/ Behind blue eyes,” or as Kristina Richardson writes in her article regarding the perception of blue eyes in the Islamic Middle Ages, “My preliminary archival work suggests the Medieval Muslim male writers overwhelmingly accepted the characterization of blue and green eyes as unattractive and deviant,” a line of thinking fueled by the brutality of European crusaders who raped, pillaged and murdered in an attempt to reclaim the Holy Land.
Blue eyes have been a notable trait in literature across cultures for centuries. Though the future of blue eyes is unclear, nearly all living and dead blue-eyed individuals share a familial relationship through a single genetic mutation. If you have blue eyes or know someone with blue eyes, they are more than likely related to that 7,000 year old man whose remains that researchers found in a remote cave in Spain.
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- Eye Color.” TheTech.
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- How Blue Eyed Parents Can Have Brown Eyed Children: Two Different Ways to Get Blue Eyes.” TheTech.F.L.
Patty. Sidelights on American Literature. “The Shadow of Longfellow.” Century Company, 1922: p.237.H. Eiberg, J. Troelsen, M. Nielsen, A. Mikkelsen, J. Mengel-From, K.W. Kjaer, L. Hansen. Blue eye color in humans may be caused by a perfectly associated founder mutation in a regulatory element located within the HERC2 gene inhibiting OCA2 expression.
Human Genetics 123 (2008): 177-187.I. Lazaridis, et all. Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day European. Nature 513 (18 September 2014): 409-413.K. Richardson. “Blue eyes in Islamic Middle Ages.” Medievalists. Medievalists, 16 February 2014.J. Bryner. “One Common Ancestor Behind Blue Eyes.” LiveScience.
LiveScience, 31 January 2008.J.K. Pickrell and D. Reich. Toward a new history and geography of human genes informed by ancient DNA. Trends in Genetics Vol.30, No.9 (Sept 2014): 377-389.J. Mengel-From, C. Borsting, J.J. Sanchez, Hans Eiberg, Neils Morling. Human eye colours and HERC2, OCA2 and MATP.
- Forensic Science International: Genetics 4 (2010): 323-328.S. Connor.
- Revealed: First Ol’ Blue Eyes is 7,000 years old and was a caveman living in Spain.” IndependentUK.
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- Ancient genomes link early farmers from Atapuerca in Spain to modern-day Basques.
PNAS 112 (2015): 11917-11922 University of Copenhagen. “Blue-eyed humans have a single, common ancestor.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2008. : Behind Blue Eyes: A Look at the Genetic and Cultural Components that Propelled the Spread of Blue-Eyed Humans
What was the first ethnicity to have blue eyes?
Okay, let me preview this article: I posted this scientific finding about the MUTATION of Brown eyes to being Blue due to a recent post on the subjects in a couple of threads. My parents tell me, out of my siblings that I was born with blue eyes and red hair and red skin.
- By the time of my 4th month baby picture, I can see that my eyes were light brown, and my hair and skin was very red.
- Not anymore.
- My siblings came out brown.
- One of my younger siblings was born very chocolate and she was clean bald but later, she grew beautiful and very black hair that does not ‘fro’, but it has a combination texture.
A couple of years ago, scientist determined that BLUE EYES was a MUTATION that occurred around 6,000 years ago and it stems from A BLACK MALE AFRICAN ORIGIN. They report several archeological proofs puts this event around the BLACK SEA AREA. Based on my research, I absolutely agree.
- Blonde hair and Blue eyes is NOT a White European trait in origin for significant reasons and although the scholars today give partial break down on this subject, it still is scientifically based.
- Blue eyes stem from ‘PIGMENTATION’ and without this, eyes will not have any coloring such as in a pure ALBINO.
So this has been obvious to the scientific community for a long time, but for some reason they just are reporting this now. Like Blue eyes, ‘Blonde hair’ also has pigmentation! –But not, White hair. There is a difference between Blonde hair, White hair and Graying hair.
- BTW—This would be the same account given in my reference source, scientific reference source, about the Biblical Cain.
- His descendants migrated NODEAST and that would have been, Northeast of ‘Eden’ where the four rivers began, and thus, around the Black Sea Area were the first ancient city-civilization set up in CATAL HUYUK.
======================================================= How one ancestor helped turn our brown eyes blue Thursday 31 January 2008 01:00 Steve Connor “The mutations responsible for blue eye colour most likely originate from the north-west part of the Black Sea region, where the great agricultural migration of the northern part of Europe took place in the Neolithic periods about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago,” the researchers report in the journal Human Genetics.
Https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-one-ancestor-helped-turn-our-brown-eyes-blue-776170.html 84,112 views Jan 27, 2014, 12:23 pm Blue-Eyed African Caveman Found In Europe Paul Rogers, Contributor A stone-age hunter’s wisdom tooth has revealed that he had an unusual mix of racial traits – dark, African skin, curly brown hair and blue eyes,
Preliminary DNA analysis of the exceedingly well-preserved 7,000-year-old skeleton, dubbed Brana-1, has overturned ideas about the descent of modern Europeans. Although the hunter’s closest modern-day relatives live in Sweden and Finland, the genes for his skin colour are African.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulrodgers/2014/01/27/stone-age-hunter-had-blue-eyes-and-dark-african-skin/ JOHN BRYSON/SYGMA/CORBIS Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue? Feb.1, 2008, 12:00 AM Blue-eyed? Thank a genetic switch that turns off your body’s ability to make brown pigment in your peepers. Researchers have finally located the mutation that causes blue eyes, and the findings suggest that all blue-eyed humans share a single common ancestor born 6000 to 10,000 years ago.
Researchers have implicated the OCA2 gene in several eye colors. The gene is involved in the production of melanin, a pigment that gives hair and skin their hues http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2008/02/dont-it-make-your-brown-eyes-blue The skeleton of La Braña 1, as it was discovered in 2006. Credit: J.M. Vidal Encina Ethiopian boy has a form of albinism that only affects his eyes, turning them bright blue. April 29, 2016 admin Human Ethiopian boy with Ble eyes Babies with both Blonde Hair & Blue Eyes
Do blue eyes come from mother or father?
Before you request a paternity test, spend a few minutes looking at your child’s eye color. It may just give you the answer you’re looking for. According to Bruno Laeng and colleagues, from the University of Tromso, Norway, the human eye color reflects a simple, predictable and reliable genetic pattern of inheritance.
- Their studies 1, published in the Springer journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, show that blue-eyed men find blue-eyed women more attractive than brown-eyed women.
- According to the researchers, it is because there could be an unconscious male adaptation for the detection of paternity, based on eye color.
The laws of genetics state that eye color is inherited as follows:
If both parents have blue eyes, the children will have blue eyes. The brown eye form of the eye color gene (or allele) is dominant, whereas the blue eye allele is recessive. If both parents have brown eyes yet carry the allele for blue eyes, a quarter of the children will have blue eyes, and three quarters will have brown eyes.
It then follows that if a child born to two blue-eyed parents does not have blue eyes, then the blue-eyed father is not the biological father. It is therefore reasonable to expect that a man would be more attracted towards a woman displaying a trait that increases his paternal confidence, and the likelihood that he could uncover his partner’s sexual infidelity.
- Eighty-eight male and female students were asked to rate facial attractiveness of models on a computer.
- The pictures were close-ups of young adult faces, unfamiliar to the participants.
- The eye color of each model was manipulated, so that for each model’s face two versions were shown, one with the natural eye color (blue/brown) and another with the other color (brown/blue).
The participants’ own eye color was noted. Both blue-eyed and brown-eyed women showed no difference in their preferences for male models of either eye color. Similarly, brown-eyed men showed no preference for either blue-eyed or brown-eyed female models.
- However, blue-eyed men rated blue-eyed female models as more attractive than brown-eyed models.
- In a second study, a group of 443 young adults of both sexes and different eye colors were asked to report the eye color of their romantic partners.
- Blue-eyed men were the group with the largest proportion of partners of the same eye color.
According to Bruno Laeng and colleagues, “It is remarkable that blue-eyed men showed such a clear preference for women with the same eye color, given that the present experiment did not request participants to choose prospective sexual mates, but only to provide their aesthetic or attractiveness responsesbased on face close-up photographs.” Blue-eyed men may have unconsciously learned to value a physical trait that can facilitate recognition of own kin.1.
Did Vikings have blue eyes?
Turns out they didn’t much resemble Thor or Ragnar Lothbrok. – This post might contain affiliation links. If you buy something through this post, the publisher may get a share of the sale. Posted Sept.22, 2020, 8:05 a.m. It turns out most Vikings weren’t as fair-haired and blue-eyed as legend and pop culture have led people to believe.
- According to a new study on the DNA of over 400 Viking remains, most Vikings had dark hair and dark eyes.
- Sorry, Chris Hemsworth and Travis Fimmel.) Nature’s study sequencing the genomes of 442 Viking remains from Viking-inhabited areas like northern Europe, Italy, and Greenland – human remains dated between 2400 B.C.
to 1600 A.D. and which were buried with a variety of Viking artifacts – reveals far more genetic diversity than previously thought about the people who came from the land of the ice and snow. The Vikings, after all, were a scattered group whose sea-faring for trade, exploration, and conquest saw them settle far and wide during the Viking Age that lasted from roughly 700 A.D.
To 1100 A.D. Not only did many of the studied Vikings turn out to not be blond or blue-eyed, their genetic admixture shows they weren’t a distinct ethnic group but rather a mix of various other groups, “with ancestry from hunter-gatherers, farmers, and populations from the Eurasian steppe,” The study revealed which Scandinavian countries influenced outside regions the most.
“The Danish Vikings went to England, while the Swedish Vikings went to the Baltic and the Norwegian Vikings went to Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland,” according to the University of Copenhagen’s Ashot Margaryan. Three particularly genetically diverse areas – one in modern Denmark, and one apiece on the Swedish islands of Gotland and Öland – were likely key trading centers.
The conclusions of this genetic analysis suggest the very idea of being a Viking was likely more a way of life or job. As Science Alert puts it: “(The) results also reveal that during the Viking Age, being a Viking was as much a concept and a culture as it was question of genetic inheritance, with the team finding that two Viking skeletons buried in the Northern Isles of Scotland had what looks to be relatively pure Scottish and Irish heritage, with no Scandinavian influence, at least not genetically speaking, that is.” ” These identities aren’t genetic or ethnic, they’re social,” archaeologist Cat Jarman informed Science magazine.
“To have backup for that from DNA is powerful.” And as Science magazine also highlights, “several individuals in Norway were buried as Vikings, but their genes identified them as Saami, an Indigenous group genetically closer to East Asians and Siberians than to Europeans.” Fascinatingly, the DNA study also revealed that two of the remains found hundreds of miles apart – one in the U.K.
- And one in Denmark – turned out to be a pair of cousins.
- For more Vikings coverage, discover what showrunner Michael Hirst recently revealed to us about what’s in store for Vikings’ final season and why the sequel series, Valhalla, will be on Netflix instead of the History Channel.
- This post might contain affiliation links.
If you buy something through this post, the publisher may get a share of the sale.
Did blue eyes originated in Europe?
Originally we all had brown eyes, however, according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, it appears that a genetic mutation in a single individual in Europe 6,000 to 10,000 years ago led to the development of blue eyes.
What is so special about blue eyes?
3. All blue-eyed people have the same ancestor. – A team of scientists at Copenhagen University discovered that all people with blue eyes may be related. Somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, everyone had brown eyes, but at some point, the gene that controls the level of melanin actually mutated.
How did humans end up with blue eyes?
New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.
- What is the genetic mutation “Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Hans Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
- 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.” The OCA2 gene codes for the so-called P protein, which is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our hair, eyes and skin.
The “switch,” which is located in the gene adjacent to OCA2 does not, however, turn off the gene entirely, but rather limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris – effectively “diluting” brown eyes to blue. The switch’s effect on OCA2 is very specific therefore.
If the OCA2 gene had been completely destroyed or turned off, human beings would be without melanin in their hair, eyes or skin colour – a condition known as albinism. Limited genetic variation Variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can all be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes.
“From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor,” says Professor Eiberg. “They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA.” Brown-eyed individuals, by contrast, have considerable individual variation in the area of their DNA that controls melanin production.
Professor Eiberg and his team examined mitochondrial DNA and compared the eye colour of blue-eyed individuals in countries as diverse as Jordan, Denmark and Turkey. His findings are the latest in a decade of genetic research, which began in 1996, when Professor Eiberg first implicated the OCA2 gene as being responsible for eye colour.
Nature shuffles our genes The mutation of brown eyes to blue represents neither a positive nor a negative mutation. It is one of several mutations such as hair colour, baldness, freckles and beauty spots, which neither increases nor reduces a human’s chance of survival.
Are all people with blue eyes related?
Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue? Blue-eyed? Thank a genetic switch that turns off your body’s ability to make brown pigment in your peepers. Researchers have finally located the mutation that causes blue eyes, and the findings suggest that all blue-eyed humans share a single common ancestor born 6000 to 10,000 years ago.
- Researchers have implicated the OCA2 gene in several eye colors.
- The gene is involved in the production of melanin, a pigment that gives hair and skin their hues.
- It also codes for brown eyes and can lead to green or hazel eyes when mutated.
- Despite years of searching, however, scientists have not found a mutation for blue eyes on the gene.
It turns out they were looking in the wrong place. Trying to narrow the site of the mutation, gene mapper Hans Eiberg of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues examined members of a large Danish family, an approach that allowed them to follow DNA as it passed from one generation to another.
Then, by comparing people with brown or blue eyes, including people from Jordan and Turkey, the researchers were able to pinpoint the exact mutation. It wasn’t on the OCA gene but rather on a nearby gene called HERC2, The mutation works like a switch that regulates the OCA gene, the team reports in the January issue of Human Genetics, turning off the production of brown eye color and allowing blue eyes to shine through.
Because blue eye color is found almost exclusively in people of European descent, Eiberg’s team speculates that the mutation traces back to the Neolithic expansion, when people in the Black Sea region migrated to northern Europe 6000 to 10,000 years ago.
Two other studies, both appearing in this month’s issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, examined blue eyes in different populations and found the same mutation. The researchers also suggested a common ancestor for all blue-eyed individuals. These teams, however, did not estimate an age for the mutation.
Geneticist Richard Sturm of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, an author of one of the papers says that someday scientists may find additional mutations that cause blue eyes but for now, the signs point to a single change. Sturm says that it’s not uncommon for one gene to regulate another, but it is difficult to locate the mutation in the controlling gene.
- One of the most cited examples is the mutation involved in lactose tolerance, which is also caused by regulation from outside the gene.
- Sturm says that such regulating genes may contribute more to genetic diversity than previously thought.
- The findings also have applications in forensics.
- Geneticist Manfred Kayser of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, an author of the other paper that appears in The American Journal of Human Genetics, says if police fully understood mutations behind eye color, for example, then they could use them to determine the eye color of a suspect based solely on DNA evidence.
Geneticist Tony Frudakis of DNAPrint Genomics Inc., a Sarasota, Florida, company that develops genetic-testing products, is shocked that the mutation happened just once. Although there are about 10 ways to get someone with red hair, the scientists found only one way to get someone with blue eyes.
“I would have thought blue eyes arose several times independently,” Frudakis says. There are still large questions, though. Why did blue eyes persist? Scientists say it is difficult to see how eye color would have an environmental advantage, as skin color does. Some theories suggest that women may have played a role in driving the selection.
Perhaps, Kayser says, “the females thought it more exciting to have a male with blue eyes.” Related site : Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue?
Can Africans have blue eyes?
I am an African-American. Why do I have blue eyes? African-Americans with blue eyes are not unheard of, but they are pretty rare. There are lots of ways for this to happen. Some possible ways an African-American person might have ended up with blue eyes are:
Caucasian relatives in their ancestry (the most likely reason)A rare disease that causes albinism only in the eyes (ocular albinism)A new mutation that makes their eyes blueWaardenburg syndrome (A common way to end up with two different colored eyes.)
Can 2 brown-eyed parents have a blue eyed child?
Myth: Two blue-eyed parents can’t produce a child with brown eyes. Fact: Two blue-eyed parents can have a child with brown eyes, although it’s very rare. Likewise, two brown-eyed parents can have a child with blue eyes, although this is also uncommon.
Can 2 brown eyes make a blue eyed baby?
Is it possible for two brown eyed people to have a child with blue eyes? Editor’s Note (4/14/2021): The following article and diagrams present an over-simplified, outdated version of eye color genetics. Eye color is influenced by at least 50 genes, not all of which are well understood.
Yes. The short answer is that brown-eyed parents can have kids with brown, blue or virtually any other color eyes. Eye color is very complicated and involves many genes. To begin to understand how parents with brown eyes could have blue-eyed children, let’s imagine that eye color is due to a single gene, EYCL3, which comes in two versions or alleles, brown ( B ) and blue ( b ).
Remember that for most genes (including eye color), you have two copies of each gene, and that you inherited one from your mother and one from your father. The brown version of the eye color gene ( B ) is dominant over the blue version ( b ). Dominant means that if either of your genes is the B version, then you will have brown eyes.
- Genetically speaking, then, people with brown eyes could be either BB or Bb while people with blue eyes could only be bb,
- Example of a one-gene model for eye color.
- For two parents with brown eyes to have a blue-eyed child, both parents must genetically be Bb,
- When this happens, there is a 1 in 4 chance that these parents will have a bb child with blue eyes.
Unfortunately, eye color is not as simple as this. Besides the EYCL3 gene described above, at least two other genes, EYCL1 and EYCL2, are also involved. Although this set of genes explains how people can have green eyes, it does a poor job of explaining how blue-eyed parents could have brown-eyed children or how anyone can have hazel or gray eyes at all.
- To understand green eyes in all of this, we only need to review EYCL1 and EYCL3 (EYCL2 is a poorly understood brown eye color gene).
- Remember, EYCL3 has two versions, brown ( B ) and blue ( b ).
- EYCL1 also comes in two versions, green ( G ) and blue ( b ).
- The way these genes work is that if you have a B allele, you will have brown eyes ( B is dominant over b and G ), if you have a G allele and no B allele, you will have green eyes ( G is dominant over b ) and if you have all b genes, then you will have blue eyes.
Example of a two-gene model for eye color. I hope this helps to answer your question. As you can tell, while some progress has been made, eye color is a very complex, polygenic trait that is not yet fully understood. : Is it possible for two brown eyed people to have a child with blue eyes?
Is it true that all babies are born with blue eyes?
– From very first eye contact, you were mesmerized by your baby’s eyes — and every other trait, too. If you were startled to see blue eyes staring back at you, we hope we’ve eliminated some of the surprise you might otherwise experience later if those same eyes are brown.
- Melanin determines several aspects of our appearance.
- And while we have the least amount when we enter the world for the first time, remember that babies may be born with eyes of blue, brown, hazel, green, or some other color.
- It’s simply a myth that all of us — or most of us, for that matter — are blue-eyed at birth.
As with everything else involving your newborn, enjoy each stage as it comes — yes, even the ” terrible twos ” — and know that eye, skin, and hair color will become things that make your child uniquely beautiful.
Do most blondes have blue eyes?
Blonde fact #4: Not all blondes have blue eyes – The coloured part of our eyes contain the same pigment that gives us our precious hair colour. The darker it is, the darker your tresses and your eyes. That’s why so many people around the world have black strands and brown eyes.
What nationality has blonde hair and blue eyes?
Blond hair and blue eyes are characteristics associated with people from northern European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark, etc. These people are said to look “Teutonic” which is a term the ancient Romans gave to a northern European tribe known as the Teutons. That’s usually going to be a Caucasian who’s ancestors originated in a Scandinavian/Nordic area of Europe.
What race does green eyes come from?
Rare Green Eyes – Lots of genetic traits are rare. For example, left-handedness occurs in just 10% of the world’s population, only 11% have naturally curly hair, and a mere 4% have blonde hair. But of all of the seven billion-plus people on planet Earth, only 2% can claim to have one unique trait.
So, what is this trait so few of us have? Green eyes. Yes, only 2 percent of the population of the entire world have them. How does that compare to other colors? Brown eyes are most common, as many of you would guess, with 79% of people born with them. Blue is found in 8% of people, 5% of us are hazel-eyed, and 5% have eyes of amber.
Essentially, green eyes are unique. Most common in Western, Northern, and Central Europe, green eyes often point to German or Celtic ancestry. Currently, they can be found most often in Iceland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Britain, and Scandinavia. In Britain, brown eyes are, interestingly, even more rare than green eyes, with 22 percent of residents being brown-eyed.
- By comparison, nearly one-third of residents have green eyes.
- Interestingly, green eyes may not appear in children until age three, as pigmentation takes time to form and then to appear.
- If eyes are, as they say, “windows of the soul,” then green-eyed have the rarest souls around.
- As a color, green is often associated with negative emotions like jealousy (Shakespeare’s Othello has a quote that calls envy “the green-ey’d monster”).
Still, plenty of people think green is one of the most alluring eye colors. Green eyes can be emerald- or lime-hued, creating a look that is both mysterious and attractive.
What is the rarest color of blue eyes?
Blue eyes – If you have blue eyes, you’re related (sort of) to every other person who has blue eyes. About 10,000 years ago, someone in what is modern-day Europe was born with a genetic mutation causing permanently blue eyes. Every blue-eyed person today is a distant descendant of this one, ancient human.
About 27% of Americans have blue eyes, making it the third rarest eye color. Eye color isn’t always reflective of heritage, but America’s large number of blue eyes can be at least partially attributed to the large number of citizens with Scandinavian, British, Irish and Eastern European backgrounds.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, over half of all residents have blue eyes. In Finland and Sweden, that number is 80% to 90% — more than four out of every five residents. Worldwide, however, blue eyes are much rarer. World Atlas notes that only 8% to 10% of the global population has blue eyes.
Why are Caucasians born with blue eyes?
What Is Melanin? – Melanin is the dark pigment occurring in the hair and the iris of the eye. Melanin is responsible for tanning, freckling, and changing of hair and eye color. Caucasian babies are born with hardly any melanin, resulting in light blue eyes and cream-colored skin.
The more the baby is exposed to sunlight, the more melanin levels will rise, resulting in the changing of eye, hair and even skin color. It needs to be noted that the only “color” melanin (or pigment) has, is brown. There is no such thing as green, blue, hazel or grey pigmentation. These colors are simply determined by the amount of melanin in the body.
The more melanin a blue-eyed baby has, the more brown is flecked through the blue, making the color slightly darker, perhaps greener. Add more melanin and the eyes will change again, maybe into a rich hazel. Add more melanin and those hazel eyes might transition into a mossy brown; and so on and so fourth.
Which country has the highest percentage of blue eyes?
The Healthy Journal – Gluten, Dairy, Sugar Free Recipes, Interviews and Health Articles Estonia is the country with the most blue-eyed individuals in the world.89% of its population have blue eyes. |