The Skin Color of Children from White By Near-White Marriages

The Skin Color of Children from White By Near-White Marriages

The Journal of Heredity
Volume 38, Number 8 (August 1947)
pages 233-234

Curt Stern (1902-1981), Professor of Zoology and Genetics [Read a biographical memoir by James V. Neel here.]
University of California, Berkeley

It is well known that the inheritance of color differences in negro-white crosses is based on multiple genes, as first postulated by Gertrude C. and Charles B. Davenport in 1910. Most textbooks present the specific hypothesis first proposed by Davenport  that two pairs of genes are involved which act cumulatively and with intermediate effects in heterozygotes, so that negro pigmentation may be symbolized by AABB, white by aabb and various shades of diverse hybrid pigmentation by AABb, and AaBB (dark mulatto) AAbb, aaBB, and AaBb (mulatto), and aaBb and Aabb (light mulatto). In a general way this hypothesis fits the data on negro-white hybrids collected by Davenport. Undoubtedly, however, it is at best only a first approximation. Pigmentation is greatly variable in either whites or negroes. While it is known that much of this variability is inherited, little information is available as to the specific genetic conditions underlying the degrees and types of pigmentation found in either group. Correspondingly limited is our knowledge of the interaction of the “minor” genes for pigment variability with each other and with the “major” ones in negro-white crosses.

Read the entire article here.

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