Genetic mutation makes those brown eyes blue!

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    Genetic mutation makes those brown eyes blue!


    Genetic mutation makes those brown eyes blue


    Scientists find that blue-eyed individuals have a single, common ancestor
    By Jeanna Bryner
    updated 2:01 p.m. ET, Thurs., Jan. 31, 2008


    People with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor, according to new research. A team of scientists has tracked down a genetic mutation that leads to blue eyes. The mutation occurred between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago, so before then, there were no blue eyes.

    "Originally, we all had brown eyes," said Hans Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen.


    The mutation affected the so-called OCA2 gene, which is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to our hair, eyes and skin.

    "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," Eiberg said.

    The genetic switch is located in the gene adjacent to OCA2 and rather than completely turning off the gene, the switch limits its action, which reduces the production of melanin in the iris. In effect, the turned-down switch diluted brown eyes to blue.

    If the OCA2 gene had been completely shut down, our hair, eyes and skin would be melanin-less, a condition known as albinism.

    "It's exactly what I sort of expected to see from what we know about selection around this area," said John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, referring to the study results regarding the OCA2 gene. Hawks was not involved in the current study.

    Baby blues
    Eiberg and his team examined DNA from mitochondria, the cells' energy-making structures, of blue-eyed individuals in countries including Jordan, Denmark and Turkey. This genetic material comes from females, so it can trace maternal lineages.

    They specifically looked at sequences of DNA on the OCA2 gene and the genetic mutation associated with turning down melanin production.

    Over the course of several generations, segments of ancestral DNA get shuffled so that individuals have varying sequences. Some of these segments, however, that haven't been reshuffled are called haplotypes. If a group of individuals shares long haplotypes, that means the sequence arose relatively recently in our human ancestors. The DNA sequence didn't have enough time to get mixed up.

    "What they were able to show is that the people who have blue eyes in Denmark, as far as Jordan, these people all have this same haplotype, they all have exactly the same gene changes that are all linked to this one mutation that makes eyes blue," Hawks said in a telephone interview.

    Melanin switch
    The mutation is what regulates the OCA2 switch for melanin production. And depending on the amount of melanin in the iris, a person can end up with eye color ranging from brown to green. Brown-eyed individuals have considerable individual variation in the area of their DNA that controls melanin production. But they found that blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes.

    "Out of 800 persons we have only found one person which didn't fit but his eye color was blue with a single brown spot," Eiberg told LiveScience, referring to the finding that blue-eyed individuals all had the same sequence of DNA linked with melanin production.

    "From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor," Eiberg said. "They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA." Eiberg and his colleagues detailed their study in the Jan. 3 online edition of the journal Human Genetics.

    That genetic switch somehow spread throughout Europe and now other parts of the world.

    "The question really is, 'Why did we go from having nobody on Earth with blue eyes 10,000 years ago to having 20 or 40 percent of Europeans having blue eyes now?" Hawks said. "This gene does something good for people. It makes them have more kids."

    2008 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

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    I've got me some baby blues!

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    thats kinda cool no one had blue eyes like 6ooo years ago, wish i had me some baby blues =p
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    I saw that yesterday as well. It's definitely an interesting read. I'm a non-mutant in that I'm sporting the brown eyes.
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    so does that make me a half breed since mine are hazel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattoopierced1 View Post
    so does that make me a half breed since mine are hazel?
    And what about green eyes?
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    I'm one blue and one green. Only person in my family with a green eye. I'm a mutant.
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    Blonde hair, blue eyes, meso-endo frame. Hitler would have loved me.

    :bb3:
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    I'm proud to be a mutant! haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentBob187 View Post
    And what about green eyes?
    You're kind of like a quasi mutant.

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    Blue eyes, dark hair.
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    I'm a mutie - and I only date other muties.

    But not muties like Sinner - 2 colors? Gross.
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    You can barely tell the difference....I swear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmh80 View Post
    I'm a mutie - and I only date other muties.

    But not muties like Sinner - 2 colors? Gross.
    Maybe we should have a mutant alliance? I married a mutie myself.......green eyes all the way. Our kids have a good chance of carrying on the mutant gene. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesinner View Post
    You can barely tell the difference....I swear.
    I now dub you codename......"The Husky".......

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    You will have to explain that one to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesinner View Post
    You will have to explain that one to me.
    Both siberian/alaskan huskies are known for the very common occurance of heterochromia(an eye condition in which one iris is a different color from the other) in their breed. I think it's a very unique characteristic myself. It's not meant in insult sin, it's a joke brotha.

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    It's taken in jest. I just didn't get the joke at first (was not thinking of the dogs).
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesinner View Post
    It's taken in jest. I just didn't get the joke at first (was not thinking of the dogs).
    I wan't sure you would as i was vague, however enjoy the fact that we're some B*tch'in mutants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trauma1 View Post
    Maybe we should have a mutant alliance? I married a mutie myself.......green eyes all the way. Our kids have a good chance of carrying on the mutant gene. lol
    Word.

    I'm not even really attracted to dark eyed women. Don't totally understand - but I roll with it now.
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    Only TP and I have hazel eyes ? I guess we're the actual mutants in here I don't see many hazel eyed people and nothing makes me me feel wilder than a hazel eyed red-head, yum yum I'm the only one with hazel eyes in my family. My mom has green eyes and my dad has blue eyes but I'm the only one w/out green or blue eyes from my siblings so maybe there's something insane behind the eye gene.

    "This gene does something good for people. It makes them have more kids." I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing LOL.
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    Being a part of the non-mutant coalition, I'm forewarning all you mutants out there that we're coming for Professor Xavier's house, so you better run!
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