Genetics and Geography: Blonde hair in Melanesian populations

(Christy Hemphill) #1

So here is an interesting thing we learned today. We are studying Oceania, and one of my kids asked how the Australian aborigines got blonde hair. So, like any good homeschooling family, we googled it! Evidently this is common in aboriginal populations in the Solomon Islands as well. People used to think it was caused by exposure to sun and salt water or a certain diet, but now we now it is caused by two copies of a mutant gene for the synthesis of melanin. This is different than what causes blond hair in European populations.

You learn something new every day teaching your kids.