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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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Pigmentation

On the whole, humans are not a particularly colorful species, at least not naturally. Until a few decades ago, pretty much anywhere you went in the world, most people you encountered would have been the same local hue, somewhere along the bland axis from black to white with a touch of rouge or ochre thrown in. Ninety percent of the world’s population has pitch-black hair, with only northern European derivatives experimenting with brown or blonde. Eye color is a little more variable, for reasons that are completely obscure.

Given this, Scandinavia would seem to be a good place to begin the search for the genes behind differences in skin color, and indeed the folks at deCODE Genetics in Iceland have obliged. Their scan of around 7,000 ...

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