Convergent evolution in skin color – part n

By Razib Khan | December 31, 2006 4:43 pm

Genetic Evidence for the Convergent Evolution of Light Skin in Europeans and East Asians:

…these results point to the importance of several genes in shaping the pigmentation phenotype and a complex evolutionary history involving strong selection. Polymorphisms in two genes, ASIP and OCA2, may play a shared role in shaping light and dark pigmentation across the globe while SLC24A5, MATP, and TYR have a predominant role in the evolution of light skin in Europeans but not in East Asians. These findings support a case for the recent convergent evolution of a lighter pigmentation phenotype in Europeans and East Asians.

Related: A post on SLC24A5 and one on OCA2. Earlier commentary on the lead author’s work (a correction from her). Convergent evolution on skin color.
Skin color is a very salient trait, we notice it pretty easily. So I believe it is a very good thing in terms of public understanding of the postgenomic era that this character is now being elucidated on a fine grained scale. Within 5-10 years I predict this will be a rather uninteresting trait because we’ll have a good grip on 95% of the variation between and within populations.
Via Dienekes.
Addendum: After I initially drafted this post I found this paper which isolates the DCT locus as implicated in light skin in East Asias, but not Europeans. The science here is pretty fast, loci build up as I write!


Comments are closed.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar