All people with blue eyes are descended from one common ancestor who lived 10,000 years ago

(ORDO NEWS) — All blue-eyed people descend from a single common ancestor who lived between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago, researchers from the University of Copenhagen say.

Despite being the second most common color in the world, blue eyes are still relatively rare, occurring in only 8-10% of people. But that percentage is even more impressive in light of the new study.

According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen (UoC), all people with blue eyes today can be traced to a single common ancestor who developed a mutation for that eye color. The mutation has spread from this ancestor around the globe over the past 6-10 millennia.

“Initially, we all had brown eyes,” says study lead author Professor Hans Eiberg, from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen.

“But a genetic mutation that affected the OCA2 gene in chromosome genes created a switch that literally turned off the ability to produce brown eyes in the descendants of this single ancestor.”

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