logo
Share SHARE
FONT-SIZE Plus   Neg

Mysterious Origin Of Blond Hair On Dark Skin Revealed

solomonisland-050412.jpg

Situated in the south-west Pacific, about 1800 km north-east of Australia, are Solomon Islands. Most of the inhabitants of this island country are dark-skinned people called Melanesians. One of the intriguing features of these people is the naturally bright blond hair, which about 10 percent of them sport. Surprised at the co-existence of blond hair with dark skin?

Read on to know the reason for the islanders' blond locks...

Well, a number of hypotheses like bleaching by sun and saltwater, a diet rich in fish, and the genetic legacy of Europeans or Americans have been considered for the origins of their blond hair. But a new study has found that the naturally blond hair in Solomon Islanders is due to variant of a native gene called TYRP1 that plays an important role in the melanin biosynthetic pathway.

The findings were arrived at after analyzing the genetic makeup of 43 blond and 42 dark-haired Melanesians.

Note that the variant of TYRP1 gene is distinctly different from the gene that causes blond hair in Europeans. This variant is not present in the Europeans.

Given the fact that the particular variant responsible for blond hair in the Solomon Islands is absent in the genomes of Europeans, the study author Sean Myles, a geneticist at Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Canada, said, "It's a great example of convergent evolution, where the same outcome is brought about by completely different means."

The research was co-led by Dr Nic Timpson from the Medical Research Council Center for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The study is published May 4 in the journal Science.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

Business News

Editors Pick
The month of February saw the FDA approve the second drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy namely Emflaza. Now, let's take a look at the biotech stocks awaiting FDA decision in March. The recent week marked the lull before the storm, with very few market moving economic numbers released during the week. However, the economic news flow picks up pace in the upcoming week, offering glimpses into every vehicle of economic growth, ranging from consumers to private sector activity to housing.... Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is already lower than most other developed nations and is now projected to fall further behind by 2030, according to a new study. It also suggests that by 2030, national female life expectancy in South Korea could break the 90 year barrier.
comments powered by Disqus
Follow RTT