Blond Baby from Black Parents a Genetic Mystery
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
A British Nigerian couple--Ben and Angela Ihegboro--is not aware of any fair-skinned ancestors on either side of their families. Yet they gave birth to a blue-eyed, blond-haired, and fair-skinned baby girl. As the mother herself exclaimed, "What on earth happened here?"
Named Nmachi, which means "Beauty of God," the newborn has eye coloration, so she is not an albino. The Sun reported that while the couple was shocked at her appearance, they nevertheless welcomed the child, calling her their "miracle baby."1 There is no evidence of an alternate father. Their marriage has been faithful, and even a Caucasian father could not have produced a baby as light-skinned as this one.
Nmachi's unexpected appearance presents a genetic mystery, but it also provides a clue to the skin, eye, and hair coloration that must have characterized this planet's first people. Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes told The Sun, "As albinoism has been ruled out, it is more likely that there has been some other mutation that's happened to produce this colouring."1
This means that it is possible that all blond and fair-skinned people descended from one or a few who had the same or a similar mutation as Nmachi. This would in turn confirm suspicions that the lack of melanin in skin, eyes, and hair that characterizes Caucasians points back at a long heritage of debilitated melanin production.
Nmachi's presumed mutation would also confirm long-held creation science conjectures about the appearance of the first two people in the world. Adam and Eve must have had medium-tone skin.2 Based on currently modeled skin-color inheritance patterns, their many descendants had higher statistical odds of also having medium-tone skin, with an outside chance of having children with very light or very dark skin.3 In this way, all of today's varieties of human pigmentation could have arisen in only two generations from Adam.
But if the blond and fair traits arose by mutation long after Adam, then it stands to reason that earth's earliest inhabitants were all darker than today's fairest-skinned ones.
The human population must have been much smaller at some point for a mutation like this to have become part of large segments of the population today. Although certain Europeans share fair-skinned traits, there are isolated blond populations ensconced among the more melanin-rich groups. Key mutation events were most likely to have happened long after the original "very good" creation at a time when genetic entropy began to hold stronger sway.4 For example, a melanin-debilitating mutation could have become fixed into certain peoples after the entire population was bottlenecked down to the eight Flood survivors, just 4,000 or so years ago.
Reconstructions of the past will often be subject to alteration as new information such as this genetic anomaly surfaces. But the Bible's written account of the past provides certain information that is unambiguous. From this God-spoken record, as well as from current science, one can be confident that all peoples are indeed descendants of a literal Adam and Eve, just as Jesus Himself confirmed.5
- Wheeler, V. Black parents…white baby. The Sun. Posted on thesun.co.uk July 20, 2010, accessed July 22, 2010.
- See Batten, D. et al. 2007. How did all the different 'races' arise (from Noah's family)? The Creation Answers Book. Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 221-237.
- College biology textbooks have named the human skin coloration inheritance pattern "polygenic inheritance." But since skin coloration is a product of about 12 different--and differently regulated--genes, this "pattern" is likely a statistical approximation.
- "Genetic entropy" is the relentless loss of genetic information through the accumulation of small mutations that have almost no immediate fitness effect. See Sanford, J. C. 2008. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome. Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications.
- "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6).
Image credit: © News Group Newspapers Ltd./Peter Simpson & Neil Hall. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on July 28, 2010.