Appalachian Blue Skin Puzzle Solved

tony leatherStarred Page By tony leather, 9th May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/e17v5k4e/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Off Beat

As it turned out, their physical union threw out that rare and peculiar genetic mutation that meant their descendants being born with blue skin.

Appalachian Blue Skin Puzzle Solved


A medical oddity so unusual that it at first seems a massive hoax was noticed first during the 19th century in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, USA. In the early 1800s, an isolated family started producing children who had blue skin.

Today it is known that this is due to a condition known as Met-H - methaemoglobinaemia - which is incredibly rare and reduces the ability of a sufferer to carry oxygen in the blood, leaving it darker than normal people carry.

This family, dubbed the Fugates, inter-married only with a nearby family for decades, so that the offspring were all from a relatively pure gene pool, that often happened to include the met-H gene, though an increase in local population over time diluted this gene-pool greatly, so fewer blue children were born.

Blue Skin 2

It had all begun when French orphan boy Martin Fugate, in order to claim an early 19th century land grant, settled on the banks of the aptly named Troublesome Creek, marrying American girl Elizabeth Smith, a red-haired, very pale-skinned beauty.

As it turned out, their physical union threw out that rare and peculiar genetic mutation that meant their descendants being born with blue skin. In this seemingly falsified picture they appear made up to mimic Smurf characters from the kids cartoon-show, but the condition is all too real in actual fact.

The plight of this unfortunate family first came to light in 1958 when Luke Combs, a descendant of another branch of the Fugate family, yet still blessed with blue skin took his white wife to the University of Kentucky Hospital. They asked if they could investigate further, and the age-old mystery of the Fugate family skin tone, which had baffled folks for over a century seemed to have finally been solved.

Apart from the starkly noticeable discoloration of the skin, there are no serious problems associated with the condition for those suffering from it, and though the gene still around today it is so rare as to be considered statistically insignificant these days.

Blue Skin 3

The plight of this unfortunate family first came to light in 1958 when Luke Combs, a descendant of another branch of the Fugate family, yet still blessed with blue skin took his white wife to the University of Kentucky Hospital. They asked if they could investigate further, and the age-old mystery of the Fugate family skin tone, which had baffled folks for over a century seemed to have finally been solved.

Apart from the starkly noticeable discoloration of the skin, there are no serious problems associated with the condition for those suffering from it, and though the gene still around today it is so rare as to be considered statistically insignificant these days.

Tags

Appalachian Blue Skin Puzzle Solved, News, Usa

Meet the author

author avatar tony leather
mainly non-fiction articles, though I do write short stories, poetry and descriptive prose as well. Have been writing for over ten years now

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Comments

author avatar Cleo Cole
9th May 2012 (#)

That was really interesting. Thank you xx

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author avatar tony leather
9th May 2012 (#)

I love finding Quirky news

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