Monday, December 19, 2005

slc24a5 -- Melanin and Me

99.9 percent of human genes are the same. Of 3.1 Billion (how many zeros is that? 3,100,000,000?) letters in the human genome project, slc24a5 "blocks the creation of a protein whose job is to move charged atoms across cell membranes, an obscure process that is crucial to the accumulation of melanin inside cells." from the Washington Post article, which I send you to b/c the last line is great.

Recent revelations that all people are more than 99.9 percent genetically identical has proved that race has almost no biological validity. Yet geneticists' claims that race is a phony construct have not rung true to many nonscientists -- and understandably so, said Vivian Ota Wang of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda.

"You may tell people that race isn't real and doesn't matter, but they can't catch a cab," Ota Wang said. "So unless we take that into account it makes us sound crazy."

The title of the article in the Washington Post (Scientists Find A DNA Change That Accounts For White Skin)
is misleading -- this gene mutation accounts for northern european white skin, but humans with light and white skin which genetic origins are from asia, those are accounted for by other mutations.
original article in Science is linked for you really really smart people.

Read or listen to NPR

jenn at says

Race is not about genetics, it's about social inequality and disenfranchisment. As cool as this finding is, we must be careful not to conclude that we can therefore simply erase the effects of racism by pretending it doesn't exist.

This is new and not much commented/discussed yet by the religious right, conservative right, but the racist right's picked right up on it.
For now, keep an eye on comments at as a jump off way to link to the conservative right's take on this.

Or spend some time at the racist right, where at comments are going like this:

Hmmmm. How can it be just one gene (i.e. locus)? If it was, then race-mixer's would reproduce according to simple mendel laws right? I.e. there would be limited shades like very black, very white. This if alleles would be strictly dominant/recessive. Or, if recessive allele played a role too, then there could be a one or two middle shades. How comes there're so many shades of skin color?
It looks like there have to be severel locuses involved... or not? Can somebody better educated in genetics explain?


Read the article, seems a bit like PC bull****. There's still confusion, but by default we are all black, my ass. Ask the fish.


When we mix, we are destroying the blessing and miracle of the creator, we are sending the love letter written in nature and translated by us back unopened. This is suicide, it is choosing death.

more here.

We may have all 'come from africa' and were brown skinned at that time. BUT just as we evolved into who we are so too the black african evolved into who they are. We evolved differently and sharing a common ancestor does not in any way negate who we are today nor invalidate any of our goals and achievements.Indeed, I see such scientific discoveries confirming the fact we ARE genetically different and strengthens our position. [from this page]

from the same page, my favorite
I've always thought skin color was ostentatious

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...ask the fish... color is ostentatious...

are these secret racist code words?