Genetic Mystery: Black Brits Birth White, Blue-Eyed Baby
By Theunis Bates | AOLNews.com
Britain’s tabloid press has gone gaga over a baby girl with white skin, blue eyes and a mop of blond curls who was born to black parents.
The best-selling Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers have labeled the child’s Caucasian complexion a mystery, saying genetics experts are "flummoxed" by the case. But is the birth of a white baby to a dark-skinned couple really as baffling as the papers claim?
Ben and Angela Ihegboro were certainly confused when nurses at Queen Mary Hospital in Sidcup, 10 miles southeast of London, last week presented them with their daughter Nmachi -- whose name means "beauty of God" in the Nigerian couple’s homeland.
Father Ben told The Sun that when he first saw the porcelain-skinned infant he jokingly cried out, "What the flip? Is she mine?" But he never doubted whether he was Nmachi’s real dad. "Of course she is mine. My wife is true to me," he said. "Even if she hadn’t been, the baby wouldn’t have looked like that!"
Albinism would have been the most obvious explanation for Nmachi’s pale looks. But, according to a hospital spokesperson, the obstetrician who delivered Nmachi told the family that doctors suspected the newborn wasn’t an albino because she didn’t have the pink eyes and white hair traditionally associated with the condition.
Black Parents / White Baby
Video from: YouTube.com
That initial hunch has led many to ponder why Nmachi was born white. Some experts have suggested that Ben and Angela might both be carrying light-skin gene variants, passed down from long-dead white ancestors. When Nmachi was conceived, she would have inherited both sets of pale-skin genes, giving her a white complexion.
"We are all of us genetic mixtures to some extent, and occasionally you’ll have a convergence of the pale versions of these genes in African-Americans and African-Caribbeans who have a mixed black and white ancestry," Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, told the BBC.
However, both Ben and Angela, who moved to the U.K. five years ago, deny having white ancestors.
"My mum is a black Nigerian, although she has a bit fairer skin than mine," said Ben, who has two other black children with Angela: son Chisom, 4, and daughter Dumebi, 2. "But we don’t know of any white ancestry."
And while this sort of interracial mixing may have been common in long-established multiethnic communities like those found in the Caribbean, it’s unlikely to have occurred in a historically black country like Nigeria.
Those factors have led Sykes to argue that the little girl’s pale skin is caused by an unusual genetic mutation, which she could eventually pass on to her own children. But other experts believe there’s a much simpler explanation: Nmachi is an albino, and the first doctor who said she wasn’t had it wrong. The Queen Mary Hospital spokesperson says this is a possibility, noting that that doctor is an expert in obstetrics, not genetic disorders.
The confusion over Nmachi’s condition is likely because many people believe all albinos exhibit similar symptoms.
Professor Ian Jackson, an expert in melanocytes -- cells that produce pigment -- at the British Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit, points out that there are four types of albinism, all of which allow different levels of coloring to develop in the skin, hair and eyes. "In type 2 cases, which it looks like this girl has, we see creamy skin and yellow or light brown hair, which sometimes darkens with age," he told AOL News.
Jackson adds that the parents’ Nigerian ancestry makes albinism an even more likely culprit. "Albinism is more common in West Africa than the rest of the world," he said.
The condition also could have lain dormant for many years, explaining why the Ihegboros don’t remember any pale-skinned ancestors. "It’s a recessive trait -- which means that carriers don’t show any signs of albinism -- so you can go many generations and not see any physical evidence of albinism in a family," Jackson explained. "It’s only when two carriers have children together that you see it, when it will likely appear in a quarter of their children."
The Ihegboros, though, don’t really care why their new daughter looks so different from their other children. "She’s beautiful and I love her," mother Angela said. "Her color doesn’t matter. She’s a miracle baby."
Article from: aolnews.com
Black Woman, White Skin
Walgreen to hold off selling genetic test kits
Genetic Testing Kit to Hit Drugstore Shelves
Newborn Genetic Screening: The New Eugenics?
The First Genetically Modified Human Embryo: Advance or Abomination?
Latest News from our Front Page
Eating Three Meals a Day Declared Racist by Mother Jones
"Dogmatic adherence to mealtimes is anti-science, racist..."
An article featured in the left-leaning news outlet Mother Jones this week declares the act of eating three meals a day to be racist.
In a piece entitled, “Why You Should Stop Eating Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner,” writer Kiera Butler asserts that strict adherence to mealtimes is not only “anti-science,” but “racist” as well.
“When European ...
Not Again: More US AID, Missiles Shipped to al Qaeda, al Nusra and ISIS in Syria, Iraq
Two weeks ago, 21WIRE reported on how ISIS and other terrorists militants operating in Syria and Iraq are receiving regular weapons and ‘supply drops’ – forming a ‘rat line’ which seems to be playing a crucial role in keeping this highly profitable conflict going on both sides.
This week, it’s been reported that Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters have been brandishing US-supplied ...
Swedish parliament removes Baroque artist's bare breasted painting for offending feminists and Muslims
A nude painting named Juno, which was painted by baroque artist G E Schröder and has hung in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years has been taken down for fear of offending the sensitivities of feminists and Muslim visitors, Swedish newspaper, The Local reported on Thursday.
Explaining the ban on the baroque breasts, a source from the ...
White US children will be minorities by 2020 after immigrant 'baby boom', Census reveals
This is the result of an ongoing trend of declining birth among white Americans and a baby boom among immigrant groups, as well as a surge in immigration.
By the year 2020, 50.2percent of all children in the US are expected to be non-white, according to the Census. By 2044, whites will be outnumbered by minorities.
The Census study, released ...
New Jersey Shopkeeper Hangs 'White History Month' Sign In Window
A deli owner in Flemington, New Jersey, has angered many of his neighbors by posting a sign on his window that reads, "Celebrate Your White Heritage in March White History Month."
Jim Boggess, who is the owner of Jimbo's Deli, says he put up the sign to remind everyone that they should be proud of their race and culture.
"No matter what ...
|More News » |