Solomon Islands: Kids

Located in the South Pacific, the Solomon Islands consists of six major islands and about 900 smaller ones. Some of the inhabitants of Solomon Islands have very dark skin and blond hair, which has sparked a lot of interest over the years. Around 10% of the island’s total population has blond hair, the highest prevalence of blond hair outside of Europe. This used to be attributed to the gene flow of European visitors, however a recent study by Stanford University School of Medicine has revealed the real reason behind this rare phenomenon: the presence of a homegrown gene in the Solomon Islanders that is entirely different from the Europeans. A gene called TYRP1, residing on the ninth chromosome, is responsible for this variation in the islanders’ hair color. The mutation in this gene affects an enzyme known to influence pigmentation in humans and mice.