People have been fascinated by blue eyes for centuries. When you think blue eyes, you associated them with the Europeans; there fair skin to match with their blue eyes. It’s seen as an ideal of beauty around the world.
Arshad Khan: ‘Dreamy-eyed’ tea seller becomes model after photo breaks the internet – The Telegraph
Did you know that the colour of the eyes could be explained by the amount of natural pigments called melanin in stroma of the iris? People with brown eyes have more melanin compared to those with green or hazel eyed while the blue eyed individuals have no pigment at all.
New research has shown that people with blue eyes are genetically linked and have a single common ancestor. Professor Hans Eiberg of the University of Copenhagen said ‘Originally we all had brown eyes but due to genetic mutation, this particular gene lost its ability to produce the brown eyes.’
Blue eyes are said to be a recessive trait . A recessive trait can have an effect only if both genes in a pair are recessive. This means neither the first person with genetic mutation nor his/her children would have had blue eyes. As the gene had to come from both the parents it would have been passed on for a while.
Interestingly in 2006 a group of cavers stumbled upon two skeletons in a deep cave at 4,920 feet altitude in the Cantabrian Mountains of northwest Spain. On carbon dating these bones date back to the Mesolithic period between 7,000-10,000 years ago. Tests carried out from the DNA brought about a series of surprises to the scientist world.
When Carles Lalueza-Fox who led the study at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona looked at the genome, he found that rather than having light skin, the man had gene variants that tend to produce much darker skin. “This guy had to be darker than any modern European, but we don’t know how dark,” the scientist said.
Another surprise finding was that the man had blue eyes. That was unexpected, said Lalueza-Fox, because the mutation for blue eyes was thought to have arisen more recently than the mutations that cause lighter skin colour. The results suggest that blue eye colour came first in Europe, with the transition to lighter skin ongoing through Mesolithic times.