I’ve Always Said It’s An Aggressive Recessive Gene

My father had brown eyes. He had three blonde, blue-eyed boys between hazel-eyed and blue-eyed wives. Ergo, I was pretty sure the “recessive” blue eyed gene was awfully aggressive. At least in my line.

It’s in it’s nature, according to this scientific paper, or at least the news blurb on it:

New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.

But, wait! This would fly in the face of high school presentation of Mendelian genetics, where both parents must have a recessive gene to pass it on to their children. THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED.

Which proves something about science and the natural world aside from what the news report about a study indicates:

  • All SCIENCE THAT IS SETTLED is subject to review and revision when more information becomes available.
  • The understanding most of us have from science stems from extremely watered down summary materials which might be decades out of date.
  • The material from which most of us draw information is second-hand information about whatever we’re being told, so it’s akin to hearsay or science gossip instead of actual science we could reproduce in our basement labs.

Honestly, I’m not sure what practical application this research has, and it’s not like it’s reproducible. I’m more a fan of engineering these days, where some knowledge is put to practical benefit. Unfortunately, it seems like most speculative science — at least what’s covered in newspapers and on Twitter– is put to social engineering uses. Which is not really engineering at all.

The story does give one room for a little meta-reflection of the nature of science, but most people will just see the story, post it on their Facebook walls or mention it to blue-eyed people, and go on. Or maybe, being a blogger, I’m just prone to meta-reflection to make a word count and to keep the Google beast happy so I can keep my ten dollars a year advertising revenue flowing.

(Link via Trey’s Facebook page.)

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3 thoughts on “I’ve Always Said It’s An Aggressive Recessive Gene

  1. Uh, what? Brown + blue expresses as brown eyes, so two brown (or hazel) eyed people can have blue eyed kids, if they each carry the blue eye gene. It’s two blue eyed people who can’t have brown eyed kids.

    —| Br | Bl
    Br | Br | Br
    Bl | Br |_Bl_


  2. Yes, I know how the chart works.

    However, of my father’s three known children, all three have blue eyes. Of my father’s grand children, two of three have blue eyes. So that’s a 5:1 blue:brown ratio, which is awfully good for a recessive gene.

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