As redheads, you probably have wondered where you light skin originates from. Why is it so light? Why do I have it? Especially if your friends have darker skin and you’re constantly reminded of how fair you are. But, as you get older, every redhead realizes their light skin is incredibly unique and unlike the rest. Then, when you hear your skin originated from India and the Middle East over 10,000 years ago — you may just realize how remarkable it is that YOU are one of those decendants.
The Irish Central reported about a new US study at Penn State University. “They found out that Europeans’ light skin stems from a gene mutation from a single person who lived 10,000 years ago. Scientists made the discovery after identifying a key gene that contributes to lighter skin color in Europeans. Keith Cheng from Penn State College of Medicine reported that one amino acid difference in the gene SLC24A5 is a key contributor to the skin color difference between Europeans and West Africans. This is undoubtedly where peole get their light skin from.”
“The mutation, called A111T, is found in virtually everyone of European ancestry. A111T is also found in populations in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, but not in high numbers in Africans. All individuals from the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa and South India who carry the A111T mutation share traces of the ancestral genetic code. According to the researchers, this indicates that all existing instances of this mutation originate from the same person. The pattern of people with this lighter skin color mutation suggests that the A111T mutation occurred somewhere between the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.”
Cheng reported that the study is now extending into understanding what role genes play in East Asian skin color. Perhaps he will take a closer look into where redheads come from after this!
Rock it like a Redhead