Genetic Mystery: Black Brits Birth White, Blue-Eyed Baby
2010-07-22 0:00

By Theunis Bates |

Britainís 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 childís 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 coupleís 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 Nmachiís real dad. "Of course she is mine. My wife is true to me," he said. "Even if she hadnít been, the baby wouldnít have looked like that!"

Albinism would have been the most obvious explanation for Nmachiís pale looks. But, according to a hospital spokesperson, the obstetrician who delivered Nmachi told the family that doctors suspected the newborn wasnít an albino because she didnít have the pink eyes and white hair traditionally associated with the condition.

Black Parents / White Baby

Video from:

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 youíll 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 donít 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, itís unlikely to have occurred in a historically black country like Nigeria.

Those factors have led Sykes to argue that the little girlís pale skin is caused by an unusual genetic mutation, which she could eventually pass on to her own children. But other experts believe thereís a much simpler explanation: Nmachi is an albino, and the first doctor who said she wasnít 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 Nmachiís 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 Councilís 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 parentsí 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 donít remember any pale-skinned ancestors. "Itís a recessive trait -- which means that carriers donít show any signs of albinism -- so you can go many generations and not see any physical evidence of albinism in a family," Jackson explained. "Itís 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, donít really care why their new daughter looks so different from their other children. "Sheís beautiful and I love her," mother Angela said. "Her color doesnít matter. Sheís a miracle baby."

Article from:

Related Articles
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

Norwegian school brutally kicks out students, reopens as immigration center
2015-11-25 1:46
A failing Norwegian school has brutally kicked out all of the students living there with just a few days notice to find somewhere else to live and study. It has now reopened as a reception center for immigrants. The school, called Waldorf, is in the R√łyken municipality of Buskerud County. It had been failing for sometime, and was officially declared bankrupt ...
Why not hear about Islam from a woman who grew up as Muslim in the ME?
2015-11-25 1:52
Youtube description: She says: "I have reached a boiling point with these lies about Islam! Please share it, don't let me waste my breath....go to for a translation of the ISIS website along with other great articles and podcasts!" Source:
Funniest Moments of Illegal Migrants
2015-11-25 1:27
Youtube description: - Beginner picture: Macedonia - Disastrous migrant: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side) - Grateful migrants: Hungary (Budapest) - Border Control: Austria (Slovenian border) - Migrant actor: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side) - Intelligent migrants: Hungary-Serbia border (Hungarian arie) (The fence was built from the border 2,5meters, in Hungarian area) - Idiot migrant: Hungary (Bicske) Source:
Pew: 65% say the news media has a 'negative effect' on America
2015-11-25 1:55
More than six in 10 Americans believe that the news media, followed closely by Hollywood, has a negative effect on the country, according to a new survey. An extensive new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65 percent believe that the news media "has a negative effect on the way things are going in the country." Some 56 percent said the ...
Hostage situation reported in N. France, several suffer 'gunshot wounds''
2015-11-25 1:12
A hostage situation has been reported in the northern French town of Roubaix near the Belgian border. Several people have sustained gunshot wounds, Reuters reported citing medical sources. The area has been cordoned off by police, RTL reported, adding that gunfire can be heard. La Voix du Nord newspaper says the hostage takers are armed with Kalashnikovs. Witnesses told the daily that ...
More News »