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Study:Blond hair evolved both in Europe and So. Pacific

 
 
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 02:12 pm
Quote:

By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
May 3, 2012, 5:09 p.m.

Though the indigenous people of the Solomon Islands all have dark skin, about 5% to 10% also have naturally blond hair – and a new study finds that the genetic quirk responsible for this is different from the one that produces blond hair in people of European ancestry.

Researchers from Stanford University and colleagues collected spit samples from 43 Solomon Islanders with blond hair and 42 with the darkest hair. They scanned the DNA in all of the samples and looked for telltale differences that were linked with hair color. Sure enough, they found that on chromosome 9, there was one spot where blonds usually had a “T” (short for the DNA chemical thymine) and dark-haired people typically had “C” (the DNA chemical cytosine), they report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

That small change results in a significant change in a gene called TYRP1, which was already known to play a role in pigmentation in mammals. This single mutation explains 50% of the variability in the islanders’ hair color, the researchers found.

Many Westerners had assumed that encounters with European explorers and traders over the years had introduced a blond gene into the Melanesian gene pool. Among the residents of the Solomon Islands, conventional wisdom holds that sun exposure or heavy fish consumption could be responsible, said co-senior author Sean Myles, a former Stanford postdoc who is now a professor at Nova Scotia Agricultural College, in a statement.

Naturally blond hair is rare on Earth, limited mainly to northern Europe and the collection of South Pacific islands that includes the Solomon Islands. The researchers checked to see whether the C-to-T change on chromosome 9 was also present in Europeans. It wasn’t. That means blond hair evolved not once but twice.


http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-blond-hair-gene-solomon-islands-20120503,0,2418895.story

There are other links at the above link.

Not sure whether Pacific Islanders have any good blonde jokes. Smile
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 03:12 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
I guess in the South Pacific blondes can't "C" spit.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 03:34 pm
@parados,
I found that story fascinating, having always assumed that blond hair on a dark-skinned person is ipso facto evidence of some European DNA in that person's heritage. Northern European, at that. Apparently not.

Now if they could only figure out where, in the long line of evolution, a group of people in Europe mutated to acquire unnaturally light skin-tones. We white folks are an aberration on the homo sapiens family tree, I hope you understand. (The mark of Cain, perhaps?)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 03:58 pm
There is a CBC program, Quirks and Quarks, which interviewed the researcher. It was fascinating.
0 Replies
 
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 May, 2012 04:04 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
A blonde went to buy a Pizza and after ordering, the assistant asked the blonde if she would like her pizza cut into six pieces or twelve.

"Six please" she said, "I could never eat twelve!"


Signed off : - The Blonde FS

Actually, to be honest, I've always wondered the same.. My father is dark skinned and dark haired, Mother, short and blonde... I have his skin, her hair. I remember questioning heritage when I was young as people often mistook me as European. I established that we were 3 generations Australian but before that, Irish, Spanish and Swedish..

Then again when I was even younger, I thought it was because I was out in the sun too much Smile Just kidding, or am I Smile
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