MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: What characteristics might a French/Ojibwa child have?

Date: Thu Mar 11 15:08:03 1999
Posted By: Mark Sullivan, Staff, Molecular and Microbilogy, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Res. Center
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 919559753.Ge

In the case of human genetics, some characteristics are simply a case of 
dominant over recessive, and others are more complex with a number of 
different genes interacting together to produce a certain trait.  Eye color 
and hair color are at the same time complex traits and simple.  For the 
particular traits you are interested in, it is pretty easy though.  It is 
well known that dark hair is dominant over light hair, and dark eyes are 
dominant over light colored eyes.  If the Ojibwa Indian woman is 
full-blooded, then it is with almost 100% assurance that her offspring, 
regardless of the fathers heritage, will have brown eyes and dark hair.  I 
say near 100% cause you never know when there might be a mutation in a gene 
that would cause an unexpected result.  If the mother is 1/4 French, then 
it is very possible that her offspring could have blue eyes, or maybe 
hazel, though her hair would most likely still be dark.  I don't have any 
statistics on the likely-hood of this, but the mere fact that it is 
possible is good enough.  Non-red hair is dominant over red hair, so again 
the child's hair will be dark.  As an example, if you take a look at the 
child of one white parent, and one black parent(assuming both are of 
unmixed heritage), the child will have dark hair, and dark eyes.  The skin 
may be a little lighter, and other characteristics may be more like one 
parent than the other, but eye color and hair will almost always be dark.  
Hope this helps, and good luck with the book.  

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