All blue-eyed people on Earth descended from one single person

Virgin Radio

6 Oct 2022, 12:54

Blue eyes.

Credit: Getty

In eye-opening science news, it seems that every blue-eyed person shares the same individual ancestor, who lived between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Scientists have worked out that, thousands of years back, all humans actually had brown eyes, until a specific gene mutation caused them to change. The gene, called HERC2, completely turns off OCA2, which is another gene that regulates the amount of brown pigment that develops in the eye. Therefore, the brown “dilutes” to blue. 

The gene mutation is very specific, which means that, while it caused eyes to turn blue, hair and skin colour still maintained the same levels of pigment.

Still with us? Good. 

Scientists have figured out that, because every single blue-eyed person has the same mutation, they all connect back to a common ancestor. 

It is believed that the gene mutation could have spread when humans migrated from Africa to Europe. 

A close-up of a blue eye.

Whilst, according to Metro, the majority of people (48 percent) in the UK are blue-eyed, Heathline suggests that only between eight and ten percent of the world's population have blue eyes.

As reported by Science Daily, variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed people only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes. Professor Hans Eiberg, from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, explained: “From this, we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor." 

The author of the study continued: “They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA.”

So there you have it, if you’ve got blue eyes and you spot another blue-eyed person, there's every chance you share an ancestor from way, way back!