Penn State Researchers Identify the World’s First White Person

298px-Pennsylvania_State_University_seal.svgResearch conducted at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey has found that all instances of a gene mutation that contributed to light skin color in Europeans can be traced to one individual who most likely lived about 10,000 years ago. Keith Cheng, distinguished professor of pathology at Penn State, earlier found that one amino acid difference in one gene is the key contributor in skin color differences between Europeans and West Africans. Light skin color provided an evolutionary advantage for people in northern climates because people with light skin can absorb more vitamin D from sunlight which is not abundant at certain times of year at those latitudes. Vitamin D is known to help build stronger bones, develop a stronger immune system, and may help fight cancer and heart disease.

Dr. Cheng and colleagues identified the gene mutation which is found in most people of European ancestry but not in high numbers of Africans. The mutation was also found among people in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the region where the highest percentage of people have the mutation is between the Middle East and India. So the one individual who first had the mutation is likely to have lived in this region and this person’s ancestors then spread to Europe and India.

Related Articles


  1. “Light skin color provided an evolutionary advantage for people in northern climates because….”

    JL: And dark skin color ‘provided an evolutionary advantage for people in southern or tropical climates.”

    However, as Africans –the world’s first humans– migrated out of Africa and began populating other continents….they’re skin and other physical characteristics *changed as an adaptation to the climates* in those areas…thereby generating people who became known as “Asians, Europeans, Latin Americans, etc., etc., etc.”

    “Dr. Cheng and colleagues identified the gene mutation which is found in most people of European ancestry but not in high numbers of Africans. ”

    JL: WHY….WHY….WHY…would Africans need this “gene mutation”…when they didn’t live in northern climates?!

    TWO…as I wrote above…..”Africans’ physical traits CHANGED…AS AN ADAPTATION to the new climates they migrated to….thereby PRODUCING people that came to be known as “Asians, Europeans, Latino/as, etc.

    I get tired of reading material steeped in White supremacy.
    Whites and ALL other people came from Africans.

  2. Those so-called advantages of white skin haven’t been thoroughly vetted in my opinion. White skin seems more likely to have been an epiphenomenon – a byproduct of the amino acid/gene mutation.

    This press release is egregious and I agree with J Lindsay – steeped in White Supremacy. I am so disappointed that the JBHE would publish something so awful and mis-leading and mis-informing.

  3. You are apparently reading into something that is not there, and has nothing to do with the purpose of this research. I’m convinced that racism wouldn’t hardly exist anymore if people would stop inventing reasons to get butthurt about everything.

  4. The article says that light skin colour provides an evolutionary advantage for those people IN NORTHERN CLIMATES. That’s not a racist comment, that’s just geography. The article doesn’t say anything about light skin colour denoting superior intellect, morality, or any of the other foolish conclusions drawn by racists throughout the ages.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

The Eutychus Phenomenon

Part of the Eutychus phenomenon is viewing those with diverse viewpoints in the room as fortunate, but not vital contributors. The narrative that affirmative action scours the earth looking for inept candidates to give them what mediocre White people rightfully deserve is oft repeated and sadly, embraced by many.

Three Black Presidents in Higher Education Announce Their Resignations

Cal Poly Humboldt President Tom Jackson, Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, and Morehouse College President David Thomas have all announced their plans to step down from their respective presidential appointments.

Three African Americans Appointed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roles in Higher Education

The appointments to diversity positions are Tamara Clegg at the University of Maryland, Andrew Alvez at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Kendriana Price at the University of Kentucky.

Featured Jobs