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Skin color gene identified (NYT and Science report)

  1. Dec 17, 2005 #1

    marcus

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/science/16gene.html

    Yesterday's issue of Science magazine, and this article in the 16 December NY Times report that a major determinant of skin color is a single gene which has been located

    reportedly 99 pecent of European caucasians have one allele, one variant of the gene, and some 93 percent of subsaharan Africans have another variant.

    I havent seen the Science article, maybe someone who has can make this more precise. What I see in the NY Times doesnt quite make sense to me and I would like to hear some elaboration.
     
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  3. Dec 18, 2005 #2

    iansmith

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  4. Dec 18, 2005 #3

    marcus

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    Hi Ian, I remember you as especially informed and objective from earlier discussions. I dont get in here much.

    I was wondering. Can you indicate what the scientific significance of this might be?

    I cannot see much importance. the gene does seem to be a race marker----something where 99 percent of a european caucasian population has one allele and over 90 percent of a subsaharan black population has the other allele.

    I suppose the discovery might find application in some kind of "designer baby" technology----if kookie parents wanted their child to have, say, dark skin and blond hair and blue eyes, then they could presumably have some laboratory switch the allele at just one site. the results might be startling, perhaps disturbingly beautiful.

    but these are kind of trivial consequences, it seems to me, in science terms.

    do you think of any advantage in science terms of having identified this site?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2005
  5. Dec 18, 2005 #4

    Monique

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    I didn't look at the paper yet, but imagine the benefit for forensic investigations.
     
  6. Dec 18, 2005 #5

    cronxeh

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    Better yet, imagine in a few years being able to fully reconstruct the visual appearance of an individual just from the DNA.
     
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