m9

ARTICLES AND BOOKS BY WRITER BEN AROGUNDADE

Arogundade-books1

Genetics, Race And Eye Color: Can Black People Have Naturally Blue Or Green Eyes?

rihanna-black-music-celeb-green-eyes-photo

CAN BLACK PEOPLE HAVE NATURALY BLUE OR GREEN EYES?. Many think that black celebrities with blue or green eyes are wearing colored contact lenses. In fact, people with African ancestry, such as music star Rihanna and TV celebrity Tyra Banks (pictured) can have naturally blue, green or hazel eyes, due to a gene mutation or via parents with European ancestry on both sides who carry the gene for the particular color.

RIHANNA, TYRA BANKS, VANESSA WILLIAMS, Leona Lewis and Noémie Lenoir all possess African ancestry, and yet their eyes are either naturally green or blue. How does this happen? By Ben Arogundade.

Google+

FOR MANY YEARS, the reasons why blue eyes exist in humans had eluded geneticists. But in 2008 a report by a team of researchers from Copenhagen University traced all blue-eyed people back to one ancestor who lived approximately 8,000 years ago near the northwest coastal regions of the Black Sea. “It could be the northern part of Afghanistan,” said Professor Hans Eiberg, who led the team. Their report, published in the journal, Human Genetics, identified a single mutation in a gene called OCA2, which arose by chance. The gene does not create a blue iris, but rather, it turns off the mechanism that produces brown melanin pigment. “Originally, we all had brown eyes,” says Eiberg.

CAN BLACK PEOPLE HAVE BLUE EYES?
Many believe that the blue-eyed gene, or indeed those for green or hazel eyes, only occurs naturally in Europeans, and that people of African heritage with these eye colors are wearing colored contact lenses. Indeed, according to Google’s global search statistics, 1,600 people type the question, “Can black people have blue eyes?” into their browsers each month, in search of clarification.

In fact, blue and green eye colors do occur naturally in people of both African and Asian ancestry. As mentioned, gene mutation is one cause; the other occurs when a person of African ancestry has Caucasian relatives on both sides of their family who are carriers of the gene for that particular eye color. For example, a couple with brown eyes could conceive a blue or green-eyed child, so long as the gene for this eye color exists somewhere within the ancestral line of both parents.

AFRICAN AMERICAN BLUE AND GREEN
African American film and TV celebrities Vanessa Williams, Gary Dourdan, Terrence Howard and Tyra Banks, as well as Indian Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, are well-known examples of celebrities of colour who do not have the stereotypically brown eyes more associated with their ethnicity. Williams’s are blue, while the others are green. But many confused people around the world, unaware of the genetic facts, still presume that they are wearing colored contact lenses to hide their natural eye colour.

BLACK BEAUTY by Ben Arogundade is out now.

*BLACK AND ASIAN PEOPLE AND EYE COLOR ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH

500

The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Can Asians have blue eyes?” each month.

1,600

The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Can black people have blue eyes?” each month.

*All figures for “Black And Asian People And Eye Color According to Google Search”, supplied by Google. Stats include global totals for laptop and desktop computers and mobile devices.

tyra-banks-black-celebrity-green-eyes-photo

GREEN AND BLUE IN BLACK: African American and South Indian celebrities with green and blue eyes - 1. Vanessa Williams (blue). 2. Gary Dourdan (green). 3. Aishwarya Rai (green). 4. Terrence Howard (green).

m10
music-celebrity-rihanna-red-hair-photo-pic
m12
music-star-beyonce-knowles-blonde-hair-photo-pic
m14
rap-music-celebrity-nicki-minaj-hair-photos
m16
black-model-gaye-mcdonald-photo
m18
barack-obama-president-pic
m20
bollywood-film-celebrity-aishwarya-rai-photo
m22
chinese-model-shu-pei-photo
m24
black-celebrity-supermodel-Naomi-Campbell-photo-pic
m26
movie-celebrity-halle-berry-photo
m28
dr-martin-luther-king-jr-pic
m30
black-50s-actress-Dorothy-Dandridge-photo-9r
m32
black-beauty-Erykah-Badu-photo
m34
william-shakespeare-black-actor-Ira-Aldridge-photo
m36
donyale-luna-first-black-supermodel-vogue-cover-photo-pic
m38
tolan100
m40
shakespeare-mashup-cover-pic
m42
William-Shakespeare-portrait-pic
m44
tyra-banks-tv-modelling-celebrity-photo1
m46
nollywood-celebrity-actress-genevieve-nnaji-photo-pic
m50
sexual-language-strangers-novel-ben-arogundade-pic

MOST VIEWED SECTIONS

THIS MONTH'S PICK

item2
tv-film-celebrity-supermodel-tyra-banks-hair-photography-pic-3
item4
bollywood-film-celebrity-aishwarya-rai-picture

NEXT: MORE ABOUT CELEBRITY EYES

music-celebrity-beyonce-eye-color-real-brown-photo
m59
east-asian-models-women-photo
Ben-Arogundade-author-writer-book-publisher-photo-picture-biography-1a
sprinter-Eulace-Peacock-jesse-owens-biography1
drama-the-shakespeare-mash-up-ebook1
ben-arogundade-black-beauty-ebook1
The Sexual Language of Strangers
black-history-Donyale-Luna-biography2
∆