We Are All One Race

There are over seven billion human beings living on this little blue planet located in a solar system tucked away in a corner of a very small galaxy that is in turn, tucked away in a tiny little corner of a very large and ever expanding universe. Humans on earth are differentiated from one another by the color of our skins. Some of us are black, some are brown and some, varying shades of white including various tints of yellow, olive and freckled. However, in spite of our differing skin colors we are all one race [1].


In 2000, research by the Human Genome Project [2] revealed all 7 billion humans share 99.9 percent of the same DNA. What does this say to white supremacists who claim white skinned people are superior intellectually to all other skin colors?

Latest research has now discovered the gene that causes white skin only appeared on the evolutionary ladder less than 8,000 years ago, this according to various studies reported in Science Magazine. It has been found that Caucasians are the product of a patchwork of evolution in different places across Europe. Scientists have discovered three genes that produce light skin – both of which have played a part in the lightening of Europeans’ skin color in just these past 8,000 years.


When modern humans first travelled from Africa to what is now the European continent around 40,000 years ago they had darker skin. These humans lacked two genes that lead to the depigmentation and lightening of skin. In the far north, research on ancient skeletons found in Sweden 7,700 years ago were found to have both these genes, and a third causing blue eyes, meaning they were pale-skinned and blue-eyed.


The closest living relative to humans are chimpanzees with who we share 98 percent of the same DNA [3]. Hominids and chimpanzees split from a common ancestor approximately seven million years ago.

Two Percent of Genetic Separation

It was once thought homo-sapiens evolved down through a family tree, however from research carried out on many and varied different types of hominid skeletal remains and bone fragments, scientists have now determined the so-called tree looks more like a bush. It was recently determined there may have been over twenty different hominids since the split from chimpanzee. All these hominoid groups flourished for varying lengths of time before vanishing into the mists of time. The second to last of these groups being Neanderthals who died out a mere 25,000 to 30,000 years ago leaving homo sapiens as the one surviving hominoid on earth.


Now, a new study reveals all humans with ancestry based in Europe have between 2.5% and 5% of Neanderthal DNA proving homo sapiens bred with Neanderthals and we and they were of the same human family.


Ancient DNA has been used to show aspects of Neanderthal appearance. A portion of an ancient Neanderthal gene receptor, MC1R was sequenced using DNA from two Neanderthal specimens, one from what is now Spain and the other from what is now Italy. MC1R is a gene that controls the production of melanin, the protein responsible for pigmentation of the hair and skin.

A Neanderthal Man

Neanderthals had a mutation making the resulting protein less efficient and likely creating a phenotype of red hair and pale skin. Modern humans display similar mutations of MC1R, and people who have two copies of this mutation have red hair and pale skin. However, no modern human has the exact mutation that Neanderthals had, which means that both Neanderthals and humans evolved this gene independent of each other.


Remarkable genetic research into the history of modern humans reveals traits so favorable they spread rapidly throughout Europe in the past 8000 years. By comparing the ancient European genomes with those of recent ones from the 1000 Genomes Project, [4] population geneticist Ian Mathieson of Harvard University found five genes associated with changes in diet and skin pigmentation that underwent strong natural selection including the lightening of skin color and the ability to process cow's milk.

All Human. All Ineffectually Equal

So what are we to conclude from all this research? Evidence is becoming stronger that white skin in modern humans is a relatively recent innovation in the evolution of homo-sapiens. And, where does it leave the claims of white supremacists? The answer must be; sitting with an empty bag.

References

[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/race-genetics-science-africa/

[2] https://www.genome.gov/human-genome-project

[3] http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/chimp-genome

[4] https://www.internationalgenome.org/

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