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Origin of Fair Skin

Have you ever wondered where light skin color originated?

It's only in the past couple of thousand years that would become aware that other populations have variances in skin colour and in today's multicultural world, these colours are mixing. We must remember that regardless of skin colour we are still the same species and what separates us most are the ways in which we think.

Our distant ancestry remains theoretical and as our science and technology improves, some theories are becoming probabilities yet we are far from any actual proof. The best we can hope for is a probability that satisfies the majority. In terms of human evolution within the past hundred thousand years, we know of Neanderthal, African, Indian, Asian and Australian ancestors with the possibility of another ancestral line in the Americas.

The theory that we all evolved out of Africa (the ancestral Lucy) has been put to rest, in other words the theory has been disproven and the fascinating journey of our ancestors is becoming clearer. With the out of Africa theory, the concept of very dark skinned people becoming fair skinned as they moved north into Europe is somewhat negated in the people who live above the Artic Circle who are dark skinned. In other words, if the extreme northern as were of European stock who had moved north surely their skin tone would be lighter than those who lived further south?

In terms of the movement of peoples, it seems the people of Africa did not venture north from the continent in any significant numbers until the advent of slavery when they were forcibly taken. But instead and this is really upset a great many historians, archaeologists and philosophers is that civilisation began in India. In as far back as forty thousand BC, rudimentary civilisation existed in India and these people curious to know their world were adventuring to other regions to share knowledge and to trade.

This far back in our history, when a few individuals travelled to another region and interbred, this could have a significant impact on the genetic make-up of the population affecting appearance and skin tone. Researchers from Penn State University conducted a major study and found that the European light skin stems from a gene mutation from perhaps a single person who lived about ten thousand years ago.

It is also thought that before this, there have been instances of albinism and it seems probable that genetic mutations like this are adaptations to environmental change or they may occur for no apparent reason. The advantage with fair skin is that in less sunny climates, fair skin absorbs more vitamin D from the sunshine but is less tolerant to strong sunshine. In contrast dark skin is tolerant to long periods of exposure to hot sunshine and those long periods of exposure are actually required to absorb enough vitamin D.

Well, it appears we may now have the answer. A major US study at Penn State University found that Europeans' light skin stems from a gene mutation from a single person who lived 10,000 years ago. The Mail Online reports that, in earlier research, 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. The mutation in SLC24A5 changes just one building block in the protein and contributes about a third of the visually striking differences in skin tone between peoples of African and European ancestry.

The mutation, called A111T, is found in virtually everyone of European ancestry. A111T is also found in populations in the Middle East and the 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.‘This means that Middle Easterners and South Indians, which includes most inhabitants of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, share significant ancestry.

While the sticklers for the out of Africa theory shed tears of anguish and protest, this genetic information along with archaeological finds and convincing proof to the argument that all civilisation began in India. We know our numbers, languages and science originated in India along with a basic understanding of our place in the universe. Today India seems to be a place that people love to hate and the only reason being that the British failed to conquer it completely during almost 300 years of occupation.

Irish Central
Daily Mail

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