India Uncut

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Monday, December 19, 2005

The colour of our skin...

... could be determined by SLC24A5. That's the name of a gene that is now believed to play a crucial role in determining skin colour. Reporting on the study that came to this conclusion, the Boston Globe reports:
Dr. Keith C. Cheng, the senior scientist who started the work using zebrafish, said it is astonishing to think of all that has happened in this country based on skin color -- including the Civil War and the segregation that followed -- and then to discover that just a single molecule in a single gene on a long string of human DNA accounts for so much of the difference.

''This is one base out of 3 billion" in human DNA, said Cheng, an associate professor of pathology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey. ''It does not say where someone should sit on a bus."
Quite. And all human differences are based on similarly trivial things, if SLC24A5 doesn't mind my calling it trivial. And boy, all these genes together do such wonderful things, and instead of celebrating the wonderful diversity that results, we seek comfort in sameness, and suchlike. Sadness comes. And no doubt there's a gene responsible for that as well.
amit varma, 12:55 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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