Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-11 > 1163372284

From: "brian quinn" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] White skin color gene
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 09:58:04 +1100
In-Reply-To: <>

Kathy, Hi. Hmm well all mammals have a range of white black and in between
plus the red gene I guess to give you roan horses and brown dogs. My dog
spot is mix of brown and white, the white is hairier than the furrier brown
colour. He won't sit still long enough but his skin seems to be white/pink
under both.

I suspect all humans had low melanin in skin when we were furry, and only
had to crank up the melanin per cent when we lost our fur- we kept some of
our hair. Which strangely is believed to have coincided with head and body
lice diverging. It dates when we started wearing clothes at 70,000 years ago That is when the lice
went from head lice to body lice, to occupy the now clothed body. Implies
that previously we had no fur on body though.

1.2 million years ago we started to lose our chimpanzee like fur, but had to
increase the melanin. At least we lost the body lice- heaven, sigh!

Anyway we had to go black or skin cancer killed you if you mutated the MC1R
gene. But some must have wandered into cold, wet areas ,prob in one of the
Ice Age freezes and invented sewing. Oldest needle about 40,000 years ago.

Anyway because of the lack of strong sun, year round, (and thus skin cancer)
the gene MC1R could mutate all it liked and allow all the normal range of
(very boring compared to frogs etc!) mammal colour to rage unchecked. The
effect reinforced by clothing and hats(and now sun screen and of course
roofs!) since 70,000 years ago.

Funnily enough when poms arrive in Australia on their holidays the very
white ones look ill, compared to the locals. They quickly try to get brown
to look more attractive- now why is that? Course in England the older
aussies look like an old boot.

Brian Quinn (hobnailed)


Message: 3
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 23:24:58 EST
Subject: Re: [DNA] White skin color gene
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

I agree that skin color (and hair and eye color too) most likely became
prevalent in Europe because there was a sexual preference. I think this
was discussed here a few months ago.

Maybe there is one main gene coding for light skin, but there apparently
are many alleles coding for different colored hair and eyes. So, like the
male peacock, the colors in Northern Europe had some sort of advantage
that has nothing to do with Vitamin D deficiency. You have to account
for all the shades of blonde, red, auburn, etc. hair and the different
of green, blue, hazel etc. eyes that became common in such a short period
of time. According to Peter Frost, in the 2006 March edition of the
Evolution and Human Behavior, it would have taken 850,000 years
for these colors to have appeared in such high numbers without some
sort of artificial or sexual (not "natural") selection.
See his recent update:

In China, there were light haired mummies discovered that lived 4,000
years ago. However, the light color may have not been preferred or
selected for, so the dark hair and dark eyes prevailed into modern times.
I think some of the mitochondrial DNA that resembles a European type has
shown up in the local Chinese population but the light skin, hair and
eyes of the ancestors have long since disappeared.

There were rumors that the Chinese Communist government was trying
to cover up this evidence of a possible European background for a long
There apparently was fear of a rebellion by the local population who
thought their Caucasian cousins who were distantly related to them would
come to their rescue and stage a civil war because they would be
considered a different "race" from other Chinese.

For photographs of the light haired mummies see the following:

So perhaps the Nordic population preferred blondes and the Chinese
preferred black hair.
Kathy J.

This thread: