Black Genes? White Genes?

Is there such a thing as Black Genes or White Genes?


There are some genetic alleles that are more common in populations of sub-Saharan African origin; and there are some alleles that are more common in populations of European population (if these are what you mean by “Black” and “White.”) But there are no alleles that are both 1) found exclusively in just one of these populations, and 2) found in all members of that population. So it doesn’t make sense to speak of Black and White genes.

There are genes that regulate skin color, but I’m thinking that’s not what you mean.

But I think before you ask that question, you need to define what you mean by black and white. There are people native to India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, and other places whose skin color is not noticeably different than that of people in Sub-Sahara Africa. Some of those people resemble Africans in many other ways, and some resemble Europeans in every way except skin tone.

Or, what Colibri said (much better than I, too)

Oooookayyyy, just for the sake of argument: there must be genes that code specifically for skin melanin levels, right? (Otherwise, we wouldn’t refer to races by skin color.) They seem fairly inheritable, guessing by the children of various mixed-race couples that I’ve known.

Giving the OP a ginormous benefit of the doubt: is that the issue that’s being questioned here?

There is a “white gene” of sorts. All light skinned people of European descent have a particular defect in a particular gene that is involved in the production of melanin. It’s not that we have evolved not to have the gene. We have the gene, but we have a defective copy of it. As a result, the melanin in our skin doesn’t form properly, which gives us lighter skin.

This isn’t the only gene involved in skin color, which is obvious when you look at different Europeans and see all of their variations in skin color.

What’s interesting is that lighter skinned people from Asia do not have this same defective gene. This means that light skin evolved at least twice independently of each other.

Basically, though, from a genetics viewpoint, rather than saying there’s white genes and black genes, it’s probably more correct to say that white folks are just defective black folks. But then you are only talking about whites of European descent (which is often what these “black” vs “white” conversations are referring to)

In a conversation, a friend insisted that Black (dark-skinned African male or female) Genes would always be dominant in children of a European, Asian, Indian when mating with an African or individual with pure African blood… etc… no matter what. e.g. large lips, big nostrils, a better athlete etc…

I could only shake my head cos I really didn’t want to say what I had in mind.

Actually, skin color pretty much blends. Hence, someone like Obama looks intermediate between your typical Kenyan and your typical American of British ancestry.

Also, there are a number of genes involved in skin color, so it’s not like the smooth wand wrinkled pea genes we learned about in Jr High. PP x pp -> Pp. It’s much more complicated than that.

That’s pure and utter nonsense. Most of the genes determining skin color, hair type, facial features, and other characteristics typical of different populations do not have a Mendelian dominant/recessive type inheritance pattern. Instead, children will have characteristics intermediate between that of the parents. In addition, most of these traits are affected by several different genes; for example, skin color is determined by a number of different genes in combination.

The fact that biracial children have intermediate characteristics to their parents is so obvious and well known that it’s difficult to understand how anyone, no matter how ignorant and stupid, could make such as statement.

For just one example, it’s obvious that "Black genes: are hardly dominant in the children of Mariah Carey (who is biracial) and Nick Cannon (who is black).

It sounds a bit like like the “one drop rule”, which is basically the assumption made by many racists that if you have any black African ancestors at all (at least during the last few centuries) then, even if your skin is as white as a Norwegian’s, you are “really” a n*g**.

This has nothing to do with genetics but lots to do with prejudice and racial discrimination.

The problem people have in a white-dominant society, is that it’s the differences that stand out, not the similarities. Most white Americans look at Obama and see a black guy. But put him in Kenya, and all of the sudden he looks like the odd-man out.

The Richard Pryor story (to paraphrase) from one of his movies… He visits Africa because he feels he needs to get back to his roots. While there he asks his guide what tribe he thinks Pryor is from. The guy looks at him and says, “I don’t know…Italian?”

I for one will be glad when scientific racism month is over.

To pick a nit, the OP did say “African” and neither of them are actually African.

We can assume that pretty much every African-American has some admixture of European genes. The average being about 20%, but the spread is very wide-- some as little as 5%, some as much as 60%, although there is technically no upper limit if we adopt the “one drop” rule.

It would be unusual for a white American and an black African to have children with skin lighter than the white parent.

ETA: OP in a subsequent post, not in his first post.

OK, here’s another good picture. Obama’s two parents. In terms of facial features, he looks more like his mother than his father.

He has the family chin. I think the resemblance to his ( white ) grandfather is even more striking.

Yep, the chin especially. It’s those dominant Anglo-Saxon chin genes!

Interestingly enough, Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story called “Reunion” which involves the revelation that humans on Earth are actually descendants of lost colonists of an extraterrestrial civilization. The story is about the reestablishment of contact after millions of years and the extraterrestrials (i.e. the main body of humanity) are sending messages to Earth by radio in advance. They mention that one of the reasons that Earth was abandoned was due to a disfiguring genetic disorder that caused panic and eventually civil war. But now, they’ve finally found a cure!

"…Above all, we have a simple remedy for the offensive yet harmless genetic plague that afflicted so many of the colonists.

Perhaps it has run its course - but if not, we have good news for you. People of Earth, you can rejoin the society of the universe without shame, without embarrassment.

If any of you are still white, we can cure you."

Pretty much anytime anyone says “always,” they’re going to be wrong.

Check out these two cutie pies. Twin sisters, born to the same parents. Both mom and dad have a white parent and a black parent, and neither one of them is particularly dark skinned, either. Sometimes, genes mix in delightfully unexpected ways.

Not really relevant to the point of whether “Black”/African alleles are dominant. If they have African ancestry, and African alleles are completely dominant, then they and their children should appear to be either entirely African, or entirely “White” (if they are double recessive).

To be fair that pic has mostly old people and women at that around him, although I agree with you :slight_smile:

This reminds me a trivia question. Who is the most famous Italian catcher (leaving Yogi Berra out of it, if his name turns out to be Italian)?

Roy Campanella