In Robert Sepehr’s book Species with Amnesia, he claims that all people who have blue eyes shared common ancestor that can be traced back several thousands of years. I will talk about not only this claim, but I will provide some background as to what causes blue eyes. I will also discuss what this research could mean, what Robert Sepehr’s interpretation of the research could mean, and how Sepehr contradicts himself by presenting this evidence of blue eye lineage.
Sepehr refers to a study done on genes of people with blue eyes on page 112:
“Studies carried out by scientists from the Institute of Forensic Genetics at the University of Copenhagen have concluded that all blue-eyed people share a common ancestor, someone who lived 6,000 to 10,000 years ago near Anatolia. Researchers analyzed and compared the unique genetic make-up of the chromosomes in the iris from 155 blue-eyed individuals from diverse regions such as Denmark, Turkey, and Jordan. All of the subjects that participated in the study had the exact same genetic “mutations” in specific chromosomes of the eye with very little variation on the genes, indicating that the “mutation” responsible for blue-eyes first arose and spread relatively recently.”
I had to Google for a few minutes, but I eventually found this publication: a 2008 paper titled "Blue eye color in humans may be caused by a perfectly associated founder mutation in a regulatory element located within the HERC2 gene inhibiting OCA2 expression" by Hans Eiberg, Jesper Troelsen, Mette Nielsen,· Annemette Mikkelsen, Jonas Mengel-From, Klaus W. Kjaer, and Lars Hansen in Human Genetics (123(2):177-87). The experiment was indeed completed at the University of Copenhagen, and the professor that Sepehr mentions, Professor Hans Eiberg, was in fact a conductor of the experiment. This experiment that Sepehr referred to does seem to be the real deal. The only thing that I’m not too certain about is that Sepehr mentions Eiberg explaining:
“These people were among the proto-Indo-European Aryans who subsequently spread agriculture into western Europe and later rode horses into Iran and India.”
This was apparently to support Sepher's claim that blue eyes originated north of the Black Sea. However, I could not find where Eiberg mentions this in the article. If the explanation was mentioned somewhere other than the publication of the experiment, Google could not find it for me. I would have liked to have seen the original source of statement. Until then, I am not certain Eidberg had even stated this.
What causes the color of your eyes to be blue? Well, it depends on the amount of melanin and what location it is in your iris. A lack of melanin and a rear position of it in the iris makes for the blue pigment. So then, what determines the melanin factor? It is determined by your genes. This article is a good summary. The trait for blue eyes is in fact recessive, as opposed to brown eyes, which is dominate. It only takes one dominate allele for brown eyes, while it would take two recessive alleles for blue eyes.
While Sepehr’s claim did agree with the publication of the study, what was Sepehr trying to tell us by that? Sepehr asserts this point (pg 113):
“Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy center, iGENEA, have published that King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group known as haplogroup R1b1a2. More than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong to this genetic group as do up to 70 per cent of British men.”
If that assertion is true and if R1b1a2 is related to blond hair and blue eyes, then Tut could be related to blonde haired, blue eyed people. I could not find additional information on the iGENEA conclusion of Tut being part of the R1b1a2 group.
Sepehr's Out-of-Atlantis idea actually contradicts the information he presents on the origin of blue eyes:
“…Cro-magnon’s DNA has remained unchanged in certain Europeans populations for over 28,000 years. Modern Nothern Europeans are most similar to Cro magnon: tall, high frequency of RH negative blood type, fair haired and blue-eyed.” (pg. 24)
This is contradictory to the research that Sepehr himself referred to, the research that revealed that the mutation for blue-eyes probably arose 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. If Cro-magnon’s DNA has been the same for 28,000 years, Cro-Magnon could not possibly have had an allele for blue eyes that only appeared 10,000 years ago.
What do we make of all this? If blue eyes supposedly did originate near the Black Sea, does that mean that anyone with blue eyes can be traced back to that time, that blue eyes could not have arisen on a separate occasion? What about the contradiction between blue-eyes origination and Cro-magnon? These are questions that Sepehr should’ve looked into for a better explanation.