We told you where white folks come from--now we're going to explain why some white people have blue eyes. People with blue eyes all have a genetic mutation that reduces that amount of melanin (color) in the eye, meaning they have a single, common ancestor. This mutation occurred between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.
In LiveScience.com, Jeanna Bryner quotes geneticist Hans Eiberg as saying, "Originally, we all had brown eyes. A genetic mutation affecting (this) gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a 'switch,' which literally 'turned off' the ability to produce brown eyes."
But the gene has not been COMPLETEY switched off, or else we would all be albinos.
Bryner quotes geneticist John Hawks as saying, "What (we) were able to show is that the people who have blue eyes in Denmark, as far as Jordan, these people all have this same gene changes that are all linked to this one mutation that makes eyes blue."
According to Eiberg, "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. 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."
And Hawks adds this: "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% of Europeans having blue eyes now? This gene does something good for people. It makes them have more kids."
Here in the US, our eyes come in all different shades, because we're all hybrids, of one sort or another. Whitley Strieber created a special type of extraordinary beings in fiction. This novel is out of print, so you won't find it in your bookstore, but you can still get it (along with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley) from the Whitley Strieber Collection.
If you're a subscriber, you have a special coupon, so you can get the paperback for under $2! It's the perfect size to pack in your suitcase for a plane trip to the Dreamland Festival in May, where you'll meet all your favorite Dreamland hosts (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show AND they save 10% on Festival tickets!).