Mystery of the blond islanders uncovered
The blond hair of Melanesians and some Australian Aborigines have posed an interesting question: does the hair color, almost always associated with European ancestry and pale skin, represent an ancient European connection, or a separate genetic mutation? A recent paper in Science lays the question to rest. The blond hair of the Pacific Islanders stems from a single base mutation in an enzyme in the melanin pathway. The mutation is recessive. Since a different molecular process causes European blondness, the scientists can conclude that the Melanesians have no recent relation.