They say that “the eyes are the window to your soul,” but if they are blue, they also reveal a fascinating ancestral history. According to new research, all blue-eyed people share a common ancestor who lived 6,000-10,000 years ago. This impactful ancestor carried a genetic mutation that has now spread worldwide.
While the exact cause of this fascinating genetic detail has yet to be determined, scientists can confirm that eye color began to change prior to recorded history. Initially, researchers had been on a quest to find this genetic mutation within the OCA2 gene, which determines the amount of brown pigment in our eyes.
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Instead, it was found on a completely different gene called HERC2, which turns off OCA2 – meaning it turns off the brown and reveals the blue. The theory is that mutation may have begun when humans migrated from Africa to Europe, which would explain why only people of European descent have blue eyes.