White Boys ...

According to Nicolas Wade in this NYT story, scientists at Penn State report that they have found the long sought "white boy" gene responsible for the light skin color of Europeans and the darker skin color of Africans.
The gene comes in two versions, one of which is found in 99 percent of Europeans and the other in 93 to 100 percent of Africans, the researchers report in today's issue of Science.

The gene is unusual because with most human genes, different versions are generally shared, though one version may be more common in one race than another.
We were all presumeably black from the time we lost our hair 1.5 million years ago or so until about 40,000 years ago when Europeans moved into the far less sunny climes of the North.
But when the modern humans who left Africa began to live in northern latitudes, they needed more sunlight to penetrate the skin, to permit the chemical reaction that produces vitamin D.
Oddly enough, the gene, and its varieties were not initially identified
... in humans but in a mutant zebra fish, a small striped fish common in aquariums. The mutant fish are known as golden, because their stripes, usually black, are much paler and their bodies more yellow.

Work continues apace on the search for the "can't jump" gene.


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