Behind Blue Eyes

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No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies
(Pete Townshend, Behind Blue Eyes)

A team of scientists report that they have tracked down the genetic mutation that causes blue eyes in humans. They say that their studies show that everyone with blue eyes can be traced back to a single ancestor who introduced the mutation into the population.

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.

Oh sure, but they don't identify who the rascal was, do they? We here at Blue Crab Boulevard believe the culprit behind blue eyes was one Sheldon B. Ogg, a caveman from what is now Germany.

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6 Responses to Behind Blue Eyes

  1. guy says:

    Not a big Crystal Gayle fan I guess? :)

  2. Gaius says:

    That would have worked as well.

  3. sam says:

    Ok, so how do you get green eyes then?

  4. wheels says:

    If you’d gone with Crystal Gayle, this post could have had a theme song.

  5. martian says:

    Okay, there’s just one problem with this. When I took anatomy and physiology in college we were taught that the gene that produces blue eyes is a recessive gene. In other words, in order for a person to have blue eyes both parents have to have the genetic trait that produces blue eys. So just how did Sheldon B. Ogg pass this trait on all by himself?

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