Sprague Word

The future and more from Richard Sprague

Posted by sprague on December 21, 2005

Scientists Find A DNA Change That Accounts For White Skin

Keith Cheng, leader of the Penn State team that published in this week’s Science, calculates that the gene, known as slc24a5, is responsible for about one-third of the pigment loss that made black skin white. A few other as-yet-unidentified mutated genes apparently account for the rest.

Although precise dating is impossible, several scientists speculated on the basis of its spread and variation that the mutation arose between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago. That would be consistent with research showing that a wave of ancestral humans migrated northward and eastward out of Africa about 50,000 years ago.

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