It has been estimated that around 8% of the world population has blue eyes, the most frequent number of blue-eyed people being the nationalities around the Baltic sea in Northern Europe.
The blue coloration in the eyes is formed by the scattering light that’s reflected off the iris due to the absence of pigments.
Originally, all people had brown eyes. A genetic variation related to the gene called OCA2 that disrupted the production of melanin production in the eye caused the eye to start changing colors. This variation brought about the emergence of different shades of brown.
Having located the OCA2 gene and its properties, scientists began searching for the source of the blue eye coloration in it, with little success. However, an archaeological find in 2006 changed everything scientists thought to have known about this.
The remains of a blue-eyed stone age man who lived about 7,000 years ago unearthed the secret behind the blue eyes. This secret lies in a mutation to a separate, nearby gene called HERC2.
It has been found that the alteration which happened in this gene caused the OCA2 gene to completely switch off, thus inhibiting the production of melanin altogether.
This mutation happened in a single person somewhere back in history, and this person is the common ancestor of all blue-eyed people in the world. Imagine of all those millennia that were part of your ancestry.
If you have blue eyes, it means that back at a point in time, a single person started the onset of the blue eyes that you share with around 560 million people.
Perhaps no one will ever be certain as to who that ancestor may be, one thing is for sure: all blue-eyed people are anciently-distant cousins in a global sense.
Do you have blue eyes? Do you know people who are blue-eyed?
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