Gene Expression

Kate Gosselin before & after!


I was at the supermarket today and saw some some before and after pictures of Kate Gosselin on the cover of Us Weekly. Pretty crazy, though not as extreme as some of the “pre” and “post” makeup photos of celebrities you always see in Star. I don’t know much about the show but I get really interested in the couple’s story whenever I’m at at the supermarket (Us Weekly should be renamed The Gosselin Weekly). Now whenever I randomly run across a story about the Gosselins on the internet Fuji apples come to mind.

On a somewhat genetically related note some people have commented that it’s peculiar that the Gosselins’ offspring look so Asian when they’re only genetically 1/4 Asian. Jon Gosselin’s mother, who is ethnic Korean from Hawaii, chalked it up to the dominance of Korean genes apparently. It seems to me that Jon Gosselin is relatively Asian looking for someone who is Eurasian, so I am not that surprised that his offspring look more Asian than one might expect. But, they’re all very young, and many people look more Asian as babies than they do as adults. For example, the epicanthic fold that is common among adult East Asians is a trait which many non-East Asian infants, toddlers and children retain. Phoebe Cates, Keanu Reeves and Dean Cain seem more typical in appearance for someone who is 1/4 East Asian & 3/4 European in ancestry. The former is discernible, but not dominant, in their in adult appearance.

Note: Us Weekly original image source.


  1. #1 David B
    May 28, 2009

    I read somewhere that Kate Beckinsale, who is part-Burmese, was nicknamed ‘Chinky’ at school, because she looked quite oriental, but it has become less noticeable as an adult.

  2. #2 Sigmund
    May 28, 2009

    There’s certainly a lot of variation with mixed race children. My son is half Irish and half Japanese but looks quite european apart from having distinctively Japanese eyebrows. These eyebrows make him look Japanese when he’s sleeping!
    He actually has a classmate who is half Japanese and half Ashkenazi Jewish who looks very Japanese looking (which tends to cause some surprises when she asks for particular dietary requirements – people don’t tend to be accustomed to fully Kosher Japanese people.)

  3. #3 dale
    May 28, 2009

    My friend’s cousin is half Korean half white, and when he was a baby and a young kid he actually looked completely white. He’s older now and looks more like one of the people you mentioned, 1/4 E Asian, 3/4 white.

  4. #4 trajan23
    May 29, 2009

    Assigning a racial identity to a mixed race individual on the basis of a purely visual inspection is a tricky thing and is usually shaped by the observer’s preconceptions . I have known several people who were unaware that Keanu Reeves, Rob Schneider, and Phoebe Cates were partially Asian in ancestry;however, once I informed them of this fact, they swiftly stated that they could now discern “Asian” facial characteristics (which had previously gone unnoticed) in each performer.

    As a test of this phenomenon, I then told some of these same people,at a later date,that Catherine Zeta-Jones is also of partially Asian descent (which, needless to say, she is not). Once again, they all said that they could discern “Asian” characteristics in her facial features.

    By the way, Razib, has any kind of study been done on the social construction of racial identity, with people being asked to assign a racial identity to anonymous people of mixed racial background? It would be interesting to see how “unbiased” observers would regard, say, a Tiger Woods or Dean Cain.

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