Gene Expression

Blue eyes, why?

I don’t have time to comment in detail, but I thought I’d give readers a heads up, there is a preprint in The American Journal of Human Genetics which confirms that a few SNPs on one locus is responsible for 3/4 of the variation between blue and brown eyes in white populations. This locus, OCA2, is the third longest haplotype in the European genome from the HapMap sequence (the European HapMap data comes from Utah Mormons). The length of this haplotype is suggestive of recent strong positive selection within the European population (the further back in time and the weaker the selective event the more power recombination has to break up associations swept up during the sweep). OCA2 seems to have a relationship to skin color as well, though it is far weaker an effect (recall that we already know another locus in Europeans has an average effect of 25-38% of the variance between Europeans and Africans).


  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 20, 2006

    Who is “Chet Snicker”, and what have you done with Razib?

  2. #2 razib
    November 20, 2006

    alas, see:

    Chet Snicker: 1

    White Male Patriarchy: 0

    i was part of the WMP, so i had to go. but worry not, the game isn’t over, we’re only at halftime.

  3. #3 Alan
    November 20, 2006

    Hey Razib –

    Don’t you think it’s time you morphed into a black female for a while?

  4. #4 Agnostic
    November 20, 2006

    another minor quibble (then I’ll post something relevant when I read the ajhg article) — why “male patriarchy,” unless there are female patriarchies? Words occupy prime real estate in slogans… maybe “white hetero patriachy” or “white bourgeois patriarchy,” etc.

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