Danish scientists believe the first person to have sported blue eyes lived near the Black Sea between 6000 and 10,000 years ago, Fox News reports.
“Originally, we all had brown eyes,” researcher Hans Eiberg said in a press release.
“But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch,’ which literally ‘turned off’ the ability to produce brown eyes.”
Professor Eiberg’s ‘switch’ actually refers to DNA that sits next to the OCA2, the gene responsible for regulating the pigmentation of our eyes, skin and hair.
When that DNA is altered to ‘A’ (adenine) from ‘G’ (guanine), we are given blue eyes.
Professor Eiberg and his team sampled 155 members of an extended family in Denmark and a number of people from Turkey and Jordan.
The mutant gene was found in all participants bearing blue eyes, and in notably pure form — leading researchers to believe the transformation occurred not that long ago.
Blue pigmentation is a recessive gene, so it would have required both parents to bear the altered DNA before anyone came out looking like Frank Sinatra.
Professor Eiberg suspects the first blue-eyed person lived somewhere near the Black Sea and the gene was later spread to Europe and the Middle East, but he admitted he didn’t know for sure. (Link)