Scientists Find DNA Change That Explains White Skin
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 16, 2005; Page A01
Scientists said yesterday that they have discovered a tiny genetic mutation that largely explains the first appearance of white skin in humans tens of thousands of years ago, a finding that helps solve one of biology's most enduring mysteries and illuminates one of humanity's greatest sources of strife.
The work suggests that the skin-whitening mutation occurred by chance in a single individual after the first human exodus from Africa, when all people were brown-skinned. That person's offspring apparently thrived as humans moved northward into what is now Europe, helping to give rise to the lightest of the world's races.
...and from a mutation on a single gene, is launched an entire industry whose goal is to return that skin to the color of toast.