Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homogenisation of human races?

  1. Aug 18, 2010 #1
    Do you think that eventually all human races will be homogenised? With all the globalisation and people of different races having children together, do you think that eventually there will be no more 'race' - like there will only be one type of human- we would all look indistinguishable from each other racially?
    I'm not sure, I think people will still look different - like identifyable individually cos we would have small differences in our genes, but maybe there wont be any more traits which are caused by recessive genes - like blondes and red heads? blue eyes? Just cos no-one will have two sets of these genes in their DNA. would this be possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2010 #2
    I think the concept of a race is absurd, as it only a cultural concept. All people on this globe are extremely close genetically. Different skin color is like having a different eye or hair color.

    In order to kill "race," one would have to homogenize all cultures, but I don't see it occurring on mass scales.

    To homogenize physical traits though would take another Hitler to institute eugenics on global scales to artificiality breed for blond hair and blue eyes, and ship the undesired to concentration camps. BUT even then, the outcome of eugenics is unpredictable. There was a Russian biologist, forgot his name at the moment, but he wanted to breed foxes for best possible fur. After many generations, he was getting high quality furs, but something else happened. Another trait for tameness came in for the ride. The foxes became very shy and timid, and incompetent.

    So in a sense, you can't really pick for one trait without affecting another. Change one, and the whole system is affected.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  4. Aug 18, 2010 #3
    Race is more than skin color, waht. It is a collection of traits based on geograpic ancestry. Thinhs like eye shape and facial structure are also included.

    To summarize race as only "skin color" is to oversimplify the issue.

    It is currently possible, by looking at most people, to tell what continent their distant ancestors came from. For a few people, it is impossible.

    As time goes on in this world of easy mobility, it will get harder and harder to tell where more and more of the population's ancestors hailed from. This has nothing to do with culture.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  5. Aug 18, 2010 #4
    There's no way that no one would have two sets of the recessive genes for blue eyes, for example, unless no one had even one set. If two brown-eyed people mate, each carrying the blue eye recessive gene, about one-fourth of their offspring will have two sets of the blue eyed gene. As long as some people carry the gene, some of those will mate, and some of the offspring will have the trait.
  6. Aug 18, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    You're not going to do away with recessive traits, but continuous traits that originate from multiple loci, like skin color, might tend toward a world mean if you continuously mated everybody with everybody. I can't imagine ever getting to zero variation, though.
  7. Aug 18, 2010 #6
    yeah, thats what I'm thinking - like all people will look kind of similar and you cant tell where anyone is from anymore? as to do with recessive traits... I dont think its as simple as just needing 2 sets of genes... what if an individual needed like 6 sets of genes for a pure-looking recesive trait - like really blonde hair or really blue eyes... what if people were so homogenised that it becomes really unlikely that any one individual will have all 6 genes in them? then maybe we will hardly ever see anyone with a really strong recessive feature?
  8. Aug 18, 2010 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think that's correct (I'm not a biologist though :smile:). The percent of the population having a particular recessive gene would remain the same, but the phenotype would become rarer. This scenario assumes that those individuals with the rare combination would not be any more or less likely to reproduce than those without it.
  9. Aug 18, 2010 #8

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Like my wife and me.
  10. Aug 19, 2010 #9
    Not at all likely imho. Only a certain percentage of the human population has the wonderlust gene. They move around and settle in new places but overall most people marry and breed with like or at least familier and so even a small island like japan will remain japanese.
  11. Aug 19, 2010 #10
    oh yeah, I agree that in real life it would never happen - its so incredibly unlikely and would take so long! but I was just thinking theoretically, if eveyone mated with everyone.
  12. Aug 19, 2010 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Something to consider, isn't necessarily that people need to move to new areas, but rather that as populations expand they begin to overlap. Removing boundaries that would traditionally need blazed by those with itchy feet.
  13. Aug 20, 2010 #12

    Not sure I agree with that. Migration has been a part of human existence since the very start. Otherwise we’d still be in the Great Rift Valley and the diversification into distinct races would never have happened in the first place. What is different today is the ease of global communication and the ability to travel anywhere easily and quickly. That has ended the physical isolation that brought about the homogenisation among local populations that today we regard as race. Marriage between races has similarly been a reality since first contact between them and today is more and more common. It is within living memory that so called ‘mixed’ marriages were rare in the western world. Now they are so common as to barely warrant comment. The development of the global human population into one giant gene pool seems inevitable to me, barring the kind of global disaster and collapse of the human population that we all fear. But I’m not sure that would constitute an homogenisation as such. The diversity of humanity will remain, it will just no longer be possible to connect particular features with specific geography.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook