My teenage granddaughter asked this question because she and her friends were having a discussion. She is bi-racial and asked the question: If Adam and Eve were the first people, how did we get the different races?
I’m going to break my usual rule not to “borrow” answers. I like to do my own study, and answer questions in my own way; however, this question has to do with specific scientific information, and it does not serve any purpose for me to simply restate others work. So the following fine answer can be found at:
How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family)?
First published in The Revised & Expanded Answers Book
What is a ‘race’? How did different skin colors come about? Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?
According to the Bible, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-11). But today we have many different groups, often called ‘races,’ with what seem to be greatly differing features. The most obvious of these is skin color. Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible’s record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years. However, as we shall see, this does not follow from the biological evidence.
The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah’s family had one language and by living in one place were disobeying God’s command to ‘fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1, 11:4). God confused their language, causing a break-up of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the earth (Genesis 11:8-9). Modern genetics show how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is good evidence that the various people groups we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.1
What is a ‘race’?
There is really only one race—the human race. The Bible teaches us that God has ‘made of one blood all nations of men’ (Acts 17:26). Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings, not by skin color or physical appearance. Clearly, though, there are groups of people who have certain features (e.g., skin color) in common, which distinguish them from other groups. We prefer to call these ‘people groups’ rather than ‘races,’ to avoid the evolutionary connotations associated with the word ‘race.’
All peoples can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This shows that the biological differences between the ‘races’ are not very great. In fact, the DNA differences are trivial. The DNA of any two people in the world would typically differ by just 0.2 percent.2Of this, only 6 percent can be linked to racial categories; the rest is ‘within race’ variation.
The variation in DNA between human individuals shows that racial differences are trivial. This genetic unity means, for instance, that white Americans, although ostensibly far removed from black Americans in phenotype, can sometimes be better tissue matches for them than are other black Americans.
Anthropologists generally classify people into a small number of main racial groups, such as the Caucasoid (European or ‘white’),3the Mongoloid (which includes the Chinese, Inuit or Eskimo and Native Americans), the Negroid (black Africans), and the Australoid (the Australian Aborigines). Within each classification, there may be many different sub-groups.
Virtually all evolutionists would now say that the various people groups did not have separate origins. That is, different people groups did not each evolve from a different group of animals. So they would agree with the biblical creationist that all people groups have come from the same original population. Of course, they believe that such groups as the Aborigines and the Chinese have had many tens of thousands of years of separation. Most believe that there are such vast differences between the groups that there had to be many years for these differences to develop.
One reason for this is that many people believe that the observable differences arise from some people having unique features in their hereditary make-up which others lack. This is an understandable but incorrect idea. Let’s look at skin color, for instance. It is easy to think that since different groups of people have ‘yellow’ skin, ‘red’ skin, ‘black’ skin, ‘white’ skin and ‘brown’ skin, there must be many different skin pigments or colorings. And since different chemicals for coloring would mean a different genetic recipe or code in the hereditary blueprint in each people group, it appears to be a real problem. How could all those differences develop within a short time?
However, we all have the same coloring pigment in our skin—melanin. This is a dark-brownish pigment that is produced in different amounts in special cells in our skin. If we had none (as do people called albinos, who inherit a mutation-caused defect, and cannot produce melanin), then we would have a very white or pink skin coloring. If we produced a little melanin, we would be European white. If our skin produced a great deal of melanin, we would be a very dark black. And in between, of course, are all shades of brown. There are no other significant skin pigments.4
In summary, from currently available information, the really important factor in determining skin color is melanin—the amount produced.
|Figure 1. Caucasian and Asian eyes differ in the amount of fat around the eye.|
This situation is true not only for skin color. Generally, whatever feature we may look at, no people group has anything that is essentially different from that possessed by any other. For example, the Asian, or almond, eye differs from a typical Caucasian eye in having more fat around them (see Figure 1). Both Asian and Caucasian eyes have fat—the latter simply have less.
What does melanin do? It protects the skin against damage by ultraviolet light from the sun. If you have too little melanin in a very sunny environment, you will easily suffer sunburn and skin cancer. If you have a great deal of melanin, and you live in a country where there is little sunshine, it will be harder for you to get enough vitamin D (which needs sunshine for its production in your body). You may then suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which could cause a bone disorder such as rickets.
We also need to be aware that we are not born with a genetically fixed amount of melanin. Rather, we have a genetically fixed potential to produce a certain amount, and the amount increases in response to sunlight. For example, you may have noticed that when your Caucasian friends (who spent their time indoors during winter) headed for the beach at the beginning of summer they all had more or less the same pale white skin color. As the summer went on, however, some became much darker than others.
How is it that many different skin colors can arise in a short time? Remember, whenever we speak of different ‘colors’ we are referring to different shades of the one color, melanin.
If a person from a very black people group marries someone from a very white group, their offspring are mid-brown. It has long been known that when such people marry each other, their offspring may be virtually any ‘color,’ ranging from very dark to very light. Understanding this gives us the clues we need to answer our question, but first we must look, in a simple way, at some of the basic principles of heredity.
Each of us carries information in our body that describes us in the way a blueprint and specifications describe a furnished building. It determines not only that we will be human beings, rather than cabbages or crocodiles, but also whether we will have blue eyes, short nose, long legs, etc. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, all the information that specifies how the person will be built (ignoring such superimposed factors as exercise and diet) is already present. Most of this information is in coded form in our DNA.5
To illustrate coding, a piece of string with beads on it can carry a message in Morse code. The piece of string, by the use of a simple sequence of short beads, long beads (to represent the dots and dashes of Morse code), and spaces, can carry the same information as the English word ‘help’ typed on a sheet of paper. The entire Bible could be written thus in Morse code on a long enough piece of string.
In a similar way, the human blueprint is written in a code (or language convention) which is carried on very long chemical strings of DNA. This is by far the most efficient information storage system known, greatly surpassing any foreseeable computer technology.6This information is copied (and reshuffled) from generation to generation as people reproduce.
The word ‘gene’ refers to a small part of that information which has the instructions for only one type of enzyme, for example.7It may be simply understood as a portion of the ‘message string’ containing only one specification.
For example, there is one gene that carries the instructions for making hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. If that gene has been damaged by mutation (such as copying mistakes during reproduction), the instructions will be faulty, so it will often make a crippled form of hemoglobin, if any. (Diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia result from such mistakes.)
So, with an egg which has just been fertilized—where does all its information, its genes, come from? One half comes from the father (carried in the sperm), and the other half from the mother (carried in the egg).
Genes come in pairs, so in the case of hemoglobin, for example, we have two sets of code (instruction) for hemoglobin manufacture, one coming from the mother and one from the father.
This is a very useful arrangement, because if you inherit a damaged gene from one parent that could instruct your cells to produce a defective hemoglobin, you are still likely to get a normal one from the other parent which will continue to give the right instructions. Thus, only half the hemoglobin in your body will be defective. (In fact, each of us carries hundreds of genetic mistakes, inherited from one or the other of our parents, which are usefully ‘covered up’ by being matched with a normal gene from the other parent—see ‘Where did Cain get his wife?’).
We know that skin color is governed by more than one pair of genes. For simplicity, let’s assume there are only two,8located at positions A and B on the chromosomes. One form of the gene, ‘M,’ ‘says’ to make lots of melanin; another form of the gene,9‘m,’ says to only make a little melanin. At position A we could have a pair such as MAMA, MAmA or mAmA10which would instruct the skin cells to make a lot, some, or little melanin. Similarly, at position B we could have the gene pairs MBMB, MBmB or mBmB instructing cells to make a lot, some or little melanin. Thus very dark people could have MAMAMBMB, for example (see Figure 2). Since both the sperm and eggs of such people could only be MAMB, (remember, only one of each A or B pair goes to each sperm or egg) they could only produce children with exactly the same combination of genes as themselves. So the children will all be very dark. Likewise, very light people, with mAmAmBmB, could produce children only like themselves (see Figure 3).
Let’s look at what combinations would result from parents who are brown-skinned with the genes MAmAMBmB (the offspring of an MAMAMBMB and mAmAmBmB union, for example; see Figure 4).
We can do this with a diagram called a ‘punnet square’ (see Figure 5). The left side shows the four different gene combinations possible in the sperm from the father and the top gives the combinations possible in the eggs from the mother (remember that a parent can only pass on one of each pair of genes to each sperm or egg). We locate a particular sperm gene combination and follow the row across to the column below a particular egg gene combination (like finding a location on a street map). The intersection gives the genetic makeup of the offspring from that particular sperm and egg union. For example, an MAmB sperm and an mAMB egg would produce a child with MAmAMBmB, just the same as the parents. The other possibilities mean that five levels of melanin (shades of color) can result in the different offspring of such a marriage, as roughly indicated by the level of shading in the diagram. If three gene pairs were involved, seven levels of melanin would be possible.
Thus a range of ‘colors,’ from very light to very dark, can result in only one generation, beginning with this particular type of mid-brown parents.
If people with MAMAMBMB, who are ‘pure’ black (in the sense of having no genes for lightness at all), were to intermarry and migrate to a place where their offspring could not marry people of lighter color, all their descendants would be black—a pure ‘black line’ would result.
If ‘white’ people (mAmAmBmB) were to marry only other whites and migrate to a place where their offspring could not marry darker people, a pure (in the same sense) ‘white line’ would result—they would have lost the genes needed to produce a large amount of melanin and be black.
It is thus easily possible, beginning with two middle-brown parents, to get not only all the ‘colors,’ but also people groups with stable shades of skin color.
But what about people groups that are permanently middle-brown, such as we have today? Again, this is easily explained. If those with genes MAMAmBmB or mAmAMBMB, no longer intermarry with others, they will be able to produce only mid-brown offspring—as in Figure 4. (You may want to work this out with your own punnet square.)
If either of these lines were to interbreed again with the other, the process would be reversed. In a short time, their descendants would show a whole range of colors, often in the same family. Figure 6shows what were called Britain’s most amazing twins. One is obviously quite light in complexion, while the other is clearly darker-skinned.
Of course, this is not amazing at all when you do the exercise on paper, based on what we have discussed. (A clue if you want to do it yourself: mother cannot be MAMAMBMB. Also, the twins are obviously not identical twins, which are derived from the same egg—that is, monozygous).
Figure 5. ‘Punnet square’ showing the possible offspring from brown parents.
If all people on Earth were to intermarry freely, and then break into random groups that kept to themselves, a whole new set of gene combinations could emerge. It may be possible to have almond eyes with black skin, blue eyes with black frizzy short hair, etc. We need to remember, of course, that the way in which genes express themselves is much more complex than this simplified picture. For example, sometimes certain genes are linked together. However, the basic point is unaffected.
Even today, within a particular people group you will often see a feature normally associated with another people group. For instance, you will occasionally see a European with a broad flat nose, or a Chinese person with very pale skin, or Caucasian eyes. Most scientists now agree that, for modern humans, ‘race’ has little or no biological meaning. This also argues strongly against the idea that the people groups have been evolving separately for long periods.
What really happened?
We can now reconstruct the true history of the people groups, using:
The information given by the Creator Himself in the book of Genesis.
The background information given above.
Some consideration of the effect of the environment.
The first created man, Adam, from whom all other humans are descended, was created with the best possible combination of genes—or skin color, for example. A long time after Creation, a worldwide Flood destroyed all humans except a man called Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives. This Flood greatly changed the environment. Afterwards, God commanded the survivors to multiply and cover the earth (Gen. 9:1). A few hundred years later, people chose to disobey God and to remain united in building a great city, with the Tower of Babel as the focal point of rebellious worship.
From Genesis 11, we understand that up to this time there was only one language. God judged the people’s disobedience by imposing different languages, so that they could not work together against God. The confusion forced the people to scatter over the earth as God intended.
So all the people groups—black Africans, Indo-Europeans, Mongolians, and others—have come into existence since Babel.
Noah and his family were probably mid-brown, with genes for both dark and light skin, because a medium skin color would seem to be the most generally suitable (dark enough to protect against skin cancer, yet light enough to allow vitamin D production). As all the factors for skin color were present in Adam and Eve, they would most likely have been mid-brown as well, with brown eyes and brown (or black) hair. In fact, most of the world’s population today is still mid-brown.
After the Flood, for the few centuries until Babel, there was only one language and one culture group. Thus, there were no barriers to marriage within this group. This would tend to keep the skin color of the population away from the extremes. Very dark and very light skin would appear, of course, but people tending in either direction would be free to marry someone lighter or darker than themselves, ensuring that the average color stayed roughly the same.
The same would be true of characteristics other than skin color. Under these sorts of circumstances, distinct differences in appearance will never emerge. To obtain such separate lines, you would need to break a large breeding group into smaller groups and keep them separate, that is, prevent interbreeding between groups. This would be true for animal as well as human populations, as every biologist knows.
The effects of Babel
This is exactly what happened at Babel. Once separate languages were imposed, there were instantaneous barriers. Not only would people tend not to marry someone they couldn’t understand, but entire groups which spoke the same language would have difficulty relating to and trusting those which did not. Thus, they would move away or be forced away from each other, into different environments. This, of course, is what God intended.
It is unlikely that each small group would carry the same broad range of skin colors as the original, larger group. One group might have more dark genes, on average, while another might have more light genes. The same thing would occur with other characteristics: nose shape, eye shape, etc. And since they would intermarry only within their own language group, these differences would no longer be averaged out as before.
As these groups migrated away from Babel, they encountered new and different climate zones. This would also have affected the balance of inherited factors in the population. (However, the effects of the environment are nowhere near as important as the initial genetic mix of each group.)
As an example, consider a group of people who moved to a cold region with little sunlight. Here, the dark-skinned members would not be able to produce enough vitamin D, and thus would be less healthy and have fewer children. So, in time, the light-skinned members would predominate.
If several different groups went to such an area, and if one group happened to be carrying few genes for lightness, this particular group could in time die out. Thus, natural selection acts on the characteristics already present, and does not create new ones.
It is interesting to note that the Neanderthals of Europe, now extinct but recognized as fully human, show evidence of vitamin D deficiency in that many of their bones were bent. In fact, this, plus a large dose of evolutionary prejudice, caused them to be classified as ‘ape-men’ for a long time. It is thus quite plausible that they were a dark-skinned people who were unfit for the environment into which they moved because of the skin color genes they began with. Notice (again) that this natural selection, as it is called, does not produce skin colors, but only acts on the created capacity for making skin pigment that is already there.
Conversely, fair-skinned people in very sunny regions could easily be affected by skin cancer. Thus, in these regions dark-skinned people would more readily survive and come to predominate.
Figure 6. ‘Britain’s amazing twins.’
Return to text.
So we see that the pressure of the environment can (a) affect the balance of genes within a group, and (b) even eliminate entire groups. This is why we see, to a large extent, that the physical characteristics of people tend to match the environment where they live (e.g., Nordic people with pale skin, equatorial people with dark skin).
But this is not always so. The Inuit (Eskimo) have brown skin, yet live where there is not much sun. Presumably they all have a genetic makeup such as MAMAmBmB which would not be able to produce lighter skin. On the other hand, native South Americans living on the equator do not have black skin. These examples confirm that natural selection does not create new information—if the genetic makeup of a group of people does not allow variation in color toward the desirable, natural selection cannot create such variation.
Pygmies live in a hot area, but rarely experience strong sunshine in their dense jungle environment; yet they have dark skin. Pygmies may be a good example of another factor that has affected the racial history of man: discrimination.
People different from the ‘norm’ (e.g., a very light person in a dark people group), have historically been regarded as abnormal and rejected by the group. Thus, such a person would find it hard to get a marriage partner. This would further tend to eliminate light genes from a dark people, and vice versa. In this way, groups have tended to ‘purify’ themselves.
Also, in some instances, interbreeding within a small group can accentuate a commonly occurring unusual feature that would otherwise be swamped by marriage outside the group. There is a tribe in Africa whose members all have grossly deformed feet as a result of this inbreeding.
Let us return to the pygmies. If people possessing genes for short stature were discriminated against, a small group of them might seek refuge in the deepest forest. By marrying only each other they would ensure a pygmy ‘race’ from then on. The fact that pygmy tribes do not have their own languages, but instead speak dialects of neighboring non-pygmy tribal languages, is good evidence to support this.
The effects of choice
Certain genetic characteristics may have influenced people groups to make deliberate (or semi-deliberate) choices concerning the environments to which they migrated. For instance, people with genes for a thicker, more insulating layer of fat under their skin would tend to leave areas that were uncomfortably hot.
The evidence for the Bible’s account of human origins is more than just biological and genetic. Since all peoples have descended from Noah’s family, and a relatively short time ago, we would expect to find some memory of the catastrophic Flood in the stories and legends of many people groups. We may find the story distorted by time and retelling. In fact, an overwhelming number of cultures do have accounts that recall a world-destroying Flood. Often these have startling parallels to the true, original account (such as: eight people saved in a boat, the sending of birds, a rainbow, and more).
The dispersion at Babel broke up a large interbreeding group into small, inbreeding groups. This ensured that the resultant groups would have different mixes of genes for various physical features. By itself, this dispersion would ensure, in a short time, that there would be certain fixed differences in some of these groups, commonly called ‘races.’ In addition, the selection pressure of the environment would modify the existing combinations of genes so that the physical characteristics of each group would tend to suit their environment.
There has been no simple-to-complex evolution of any genes, for the genes were present already. The dominant features of the various people groups result from different combinations of previously existing created genes, plus some minor degenerative changes, resulting from mutation (accidental changes which can be inherited). The originally created (genetic) information has been either reshuffled or has degenerated, but has not been added to.
Consequences of false beliefs about the origin of races
Rejection of the Gospel
The accuracy of the historical details of Genesis is crucial to the trustworthiness of the Bible and to the whole Gospel message.11So the popular belief that people groups evolved their different features, and could not all have come from Noah’s family (contrary to the Bible), has eroded belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One of the biggest justifications for racial discrimination in modern times is the belief that people groups have evolved separately. Thus different groups are at allegedly different stages of evolution, and so some people groups are more backward than others. Therefore, the other person may not be as fully human as you. This sort of thinking inspired Hitler in his quest to eliminate Jews and Gypsies and to establish the ‘master race.’12 Sadly, some Christians have been infected with racist thinking through evolutionary indoctrination that people of a different ‘color’ are inferior because they are supposedly closer to the animals. Such attitudes are completely unbiblical (e.g. Acts 17:26, Col. 3:11), although out-of-context Bible verses are often conscripted in attempts to justify racist views (see Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?below).
Bad influence on missionary outreach
Historically, the spread of evolutionary belief was associated with a slackening of fervor to reach the lost in far-away countries. The idea of savage, half-evolved inferior peoples somehow does not evoke the same missionary urgency as the notion that our ‘cousins,’ closely linked to us in time and heredity, have yet to hear the Gospel.13 Even many of the finest of today’s missionary organizations have been influenced, often unconsciously, by this deeply ingrained evolutionary belief of how other peoples and their religions came about.
All tribes and nations are descendants of Noah’s family!
The Bible makes it clear that any newly ‘discovered’ tribe ultimately goes back to Noah. They are not a group of people who have never had superior technology or knowledge of God in their culture. Rather, their culture (going back to Noah) began with (a) a knowledge of God, and (b) technology at least sufficient to build a boat of ocean-liner size. Romans 1suggests the major reason for this technological loss and cultural degeneration (see ‘Stone Age’ people?below). It is linked to the deliberate rejection by their ancestors of the worship of the living God.
Therefore, the first priority in helping a ‘backward’ people group should not be secular education and technical aid, but first and foremost the Gospel.
In fact, most ‘primitive’ tribes still have a memory, in their folklore and religion, of the fact that their ancestors turned away from the living God, the Creator. Don Richardson, missionary of Peace Child fame, has shown that a missionary approach, unblinded by evolutionary bias, and thus looking for this link and utilizing it, has borne a bountiful and blessed harvest on many occasions.14
Jesus Christ, God’s reconciliation in the face of man’s rejection of the Creator, is the only truth that can set men and women of every culture, technology, people group or color, truly free (John 8:32; 14:6).
The previous discussion shows clearly that the blackness of, for example, black Africans, is merely one particular combination of inherited factors. This means that these factors themselves, though not in that combination, were originally present in Adam and Eve. The belief that the skin color of black people is a result of a curse on Ham and his descendants is nowhere taught in the Bible. Furthermore, it was not Ham who was cursed, but his son, Canaan (Gen. 9:18,25, 10:6). Furthermore, Canaan’s descendants were probably mid-brown skinned (Gen. 10:15–19), not black. False teaching about Ham has been used to justify slavery and other non-biblical racist practices. It is traditionally believed that the African nations are largely Hamitic, because the Cushites (Cush was a son of Ham: Gen. 10:6) are thought to have lived where Ethiopia is today. Genesis suggests that the dispersion was probably along family lines, and it may be that Ham’s descendants were on average darker than, say, Japheth’s. However, it could just as easily have been the other way around.
Rahab, mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, was a Canaanite. A descendant of Ham, she must have married an Israelite. Since this was a union approved by God, it shows that the particular ‘race’ she came from was not important. It mattered only that she trusted in the true God of Israel. Ruth, a Moabitess, also features in the genealogy of Christ. She expressed faith in the true God before her marriage to Boaz (Ruth 1:16). The only marriages God warns against are same sex ‘marriages’ and God’s people marrying unbelievers.15Return to text.
Archaeology shows that there have been people who lived in caves and used simple stone tools. There are still people who do the same. We have seen that all people on Earth today are descended from Noah and his family. Before the Flood, Genesis indicates, there was at least enough technology to make musical instruments, farm, forge metal implements, build cities, and build a huge seaworthy vessel. After the dispersion from Babel, the hostilities induced by the new languages may have forced some groups to scatter rather rapidly, finding shelter where and when they could.
In some instances, the stone tools may have been used temporarily, until their settlements were fully established and they had found and exploited metal deposits, for example. In others, the original diverging group may not have taken the relevant knowledge with them. Ask an average family group today how many of them, if they had to start again, as it were, would know how to find, mine, and smelt metal-bearing deposits? Obviously, there has been technological (cultural) degeneration in many post-Babel groups.
In some cases, harsh environments may have contributed. The Australian Aborigines have a technology and cultural knowledge which, in relation to their lifestyle and need to survive in the dry outback, is most appropriate. This includes the aerodynamic principles used in making boomerangs (some of which were designed to return to the thrower, while others were not).
Sometimes we see evidence of degeneration that is hard to explain, but is real, nonetheless. For instance, when Europeans arrived in Tasmania, the Aborigines there had the simplest technology known. They caught no fish, and did not usually make and wear clothes. Yet recent archaeological discoveries suggest that earlier generations had more knowledge and equipment.
For instance, archaeologist Rhys Jones believes that in the Tasmanian Aborigines’ distant past, these people had equipment to sew skins into complex clothes. This contrasts with the observations in the early 1800s that they just slung skins over their shoulders. It also appears that they were in fact catching and eating fish in the past, but when Europeans arrived, they had not been doing this for a long time.16, 17From this we infer that technology is not always retained and built upon, but can be lost or abandoned.
Animist peoples live in fear of evil spirits and often have taboos against healthy practices like washing, and eating various nutritious foods. Again this illustrates how loss of knowledge of the true Creator-God leads to degradation (Rom. 1:18–32). Return to text.
References and notes
- Worldwide variations in mitochondrial DNA (the ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ story) were claimed to show that all people today trace back to a single mother (living in a small population) 70,000 to 800,000 years ago. Recent findings on the rate of mitochondrial DNA mutations shorten this period drastically to put it within the biblical time-frame. See L. Lowe and S. Scherer, Mitochondrial Eve: The Plot Thickens, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 12(11):422-423, 1997; C. Wieland, A Shrinking Date for Eve, CEN Technical Journal, 12(1):1-3, 1998.
- J.C. Gutin, End of the Rainbow, Discover, pp. 71-75, November 1994.
- However, people inhabiting the Indian subcontinent are mainly Caucasian and their skin color ranges from light brown to quite dark. Even within Europe, skin color ranges from very pale to brown.
- Other substances can in minor ways affect skin shading, such as the colored fibers of the protein elastin and the pigment carotene. However, once again we all share these same compounds, and the principles governing their inheritance are similar to those outlined here. Factors other than pigment in the skin may influence the shade perceived by the observer in subtle ways, such as the thickness of the overlying (clear) skin layers, the density and positioning of the blood capillary networks, etc. In fact, ‘melanin,’ which is produced by cells in the body called melanocytes, consists of two pigments, which also account for hair color. Eumelanin is very dark brown, phaeomelanin is more reddish. People tan when sunlight stimulates eumelanin production. Redheads, who are often unable to develop a protective tan, have a high proportion of phaeomelanin. They have probably inherited a defective gene which makes their pigment cells ‘unable to respond to normal signals that stimulate eumelanin production.’ See P. Cohen, Redheads Come Out of the Shade, New Scientist, 147(1997):18, 1995.
- Most of this DNA is in the nucleus of each cell, but some is contained in mitochondria, which are outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm. Sperm contribute only nuclear DNA when the egg is fertilized. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother, via the egg.
- W. Gitt, Dazzling Design in Miniature, Creation, 20(1):6, 1997.
- Incredibly, sometimes the same stretch of DNA can be ‘read’ differently, to have more than one function, by starting the reading process from different points. The creative intelligence behind such a thing is mind-boggling.
- This simplification is not done to help our case—the more genes there are, the easier it is to have a huge range of ‘different’ colors The principle involved can be understood by using two as an example.
- Variant forms of a gene are called ‘alleles,’ but that is not important here.
- For the technically minded, this type of genetic expression, where allele dosage affects the trait, is called partial dominance.
- Ham, Ken, The Lie: Evolution, Creation-Life Publishers, San Diego, California, 1987.
- Bergman, J., Darwinism and the Nazi race holocaust, CEN Technical Journal13(2):101–111, 1999.
- For example, Grigg, R., Darwin’s quisling, Creation 22(1):50–51, 1999.
- Richardson, D., Eternity in Their Hearts, Regal Books, Division of Gospel Light, Ventura, California, 1986.
- Ham, K., Inter-racial marriage: is it biblical?, Creation 21(3):22–25, 1999.
- Jones, R., Tasmania’s Ice-Age hunters, Australian Geographic, No. 8, (Oct.–Dec.), pp. 26–45, 1987.
- Jones, R., Tasmanian paradox, 1977. In: Wright, R.S.V. (ed.), Stone Tools as Cultural Markers, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.