LONDONâ€”A BLACKcouple, Ben and Angela Ihegboro, has amazed genetics experts, as their newly born baby, Nmanchi, is a white, blue-eyed blonde.
The couple, of Woolwich, south London, have two other children: four-year-old, Chisom, and sister, Dumebi, 2.
According to a report in the Sun of London, Ben, 44, a railway customer services adviser, said: he and his wife just sat there after the birth staring at her for ages – not saying anything.
He said: “In
â€œThe first thing I said was â€˜What the flip?â€™, he recalled. Ben added later that: â€œOf course, sheâ€™s mine. My wife is true to me. Even if she hadnâ€™t been, the baby still wouldnâ€™t look like that.â€
Nmachi, whose name means â€œBeauty of Godâ€ in Nigerian parlance, was born at Queen Maryâ€™s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, where doctors there told them she is not an albino.
Ben, who went to Britain with Angela five years ago and works with South Eastern trains said: â€œShe doesnâ€™t look like an albino child anyway – not like the ones Iâ€™ve seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby.â€
He went on: â€œMy mum is a black Nigerian although she has a bit fairer skin than mine.â€
Angela, 35, declared that Nmachiâ€™s colour doesnâ€™t matter. â€œSheâ€™s a miracle baby. But still, what on earth happened here?Â However, the child has baffled the genetics experts because neither Ben nor wife Angela has any mixed-race family history.
We donâ€™t know of any white ancestry. We wondered if it was a genetic twist. But even then, whatâ€™s with the long curly blonde hair?â€
DNA test to verify paternity
Chisom, the coupleâ€™s four-year-old son, was quoted as remarking: â€œWe are a black family. Suddenly we have a white sister.â€ Ben also noted â€œWe are baffled too and want to know what happened, but we understand life is very strange.â€
It was not immediately made clear whether or not a DNA test was done to verify her paternity.Â Often described as a â€œfingerprint,â€ DNA is more comparable to a â€œbody printâ€ inclusive of internal workings and future traits and is often almost 100 percent exact.
However, Prof. Bryan Sykes, Head of Human Genetics at Oxford University and Britainâ€™s leading expert, called the birth â€œextraordinaryâ€ He said: â€œIn mixed race humans, the lighter variant of skin tone may come out in a child – and this can sometimes be startlingly different to the skin of the parents.
This might be the case where there is a lot of genetic mixing, as in Afro-Caribbean populations. But in Nigeria there is little mixing.â€
Sykes said both parents would have needed â€œsome form of white ancestryâ€ for a pale version of their genes to be passed on. He added: â€œThe hair is extremely unusual.
Even many blonde children donâ€™t have blonde hair like this at birth.â€ The expert said some unknown mutation was the most likely explanation. â€œThe rules of genetics are complex and we still donâ€™t understand what happens in many cases.â€
Other experts, however, propose that some form of unknown racial or genetic mutation was the most likely explanation for Nmachiâ€™s colour. A genetic expert,
Dr. Rick Kittles who runs aÂ genetic tracing company, African Ancestry Inc.,
described â€œraceâ€ as white or black, and more of a social concept than a real biological concept.â€
In his words: â€œRace is based on two things: skin colour and ancestry. You canâ€™t really (see) somebodyâ€™s ancestry, but you can tell their skin colour.â€ According to him, while physical features are determined by a small number of genes, genes do not determine race specifically.
Kittles feels strongly that race and ethnicity are separate. He argues that genes determining physical features do not determine internal makeup or predisposition to certain diseases.
Kittles who had always been interested in genetics in African populations started working on collecting data many years ago and his from studies determined that three out of 10 African men had European genetic heritages.
Up to 85 percent of Kittlesâ€™ African Ancestryâ€™s clients are an exact match with ethnic groups in the database. The other 15 percent are closely related.