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Freaks Like Me: Gene Mutation & Blue Eyes

Research shows that about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago one person's abnormality changed humans forever.

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blue eyeBrown eyes are usually considered soulful, green eyes exotic, and all the shades in the middle an intriguing mix that gives us all our outward personalities.

But nothing beats the sparkle of some bright blue eyes. (I am in no way biased in saying that. I swear.)

For the rest of my blue-eyed brethren, we are all mutated freaks.

Then again, so are the X-Men, and they can do some really awesome stuff, so I’m totally fine with that. Then again, I’d trade in these blue eyes for regeneration powers to go along with my adamantium claws any day.

New research out of the University of Copenhagen suggests that those of us with blue eyes are the result of a genetic mutation somewhere between the 8th to 4th millennium BC. Between that timeframe, humans were getting the hang of agriculture and pottery making, as well as scrawling hieroglyphics on pyramid walls.

The new theory is that we blue-eyed bastions of genetic mutation all have a similar ancestor. You see, humans are naturally hardwired to have brown eyes, as that’s what we carried all along. One mutation of the OCA2 gene long ago, which can affect the coloration of our skin, hair, and eyes, switched off the body’s ability to produce brown eyes—leaving blue, the base color, instead. 

This one person with their freakish-looking eyes must have been desirable enough to spread his or her melanin-deficient genes through the ages. Then again, this type of genetic material passes through the mothers, so it was most likely a woman who had those cool blue pools of water for eyes.

Maybe our ancestral mutant link was somewhere close to the amazingly beautiful women January Jones, Charlize Theron, Liv Tyler, or some other blue-eyed temptress. (Then again, with the new research considered, I better start looking at them as cousins. Gross.)

It was much easier for that single blue-eyed gene to have such a profound effect on Europe and other areas because the Earth’s population at the time was between 5 to 7 million, not the 7 billion we’re at now.

Those blue eyes made that one person—that mutant freak—and her offspring so ridiculously good looking that that gene switch spread like wildfire through the brown-eyed population enough to alter the human race forever. That has to look good on a résumé.  

Actually, I think John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison put it best when he told MSNBC: "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 percent of Europeans having blue eyes now? This gene does something good for people. It makes them have more kids."

If that wasn’t true, none of us blue-eyed people would be here. 

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Tags: Latest Studies & Research

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About the Author

Brian Krans is an Assistant Editor and writer at Healthline.com.

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