Thursday, February 23, 2012

Talk about blue in the face... Extraordinary story of Appalachia

  • Isolated family in Kentucky started producing blue children in 1800s 

  1. French orphan Martin Fugate married pale American Elizabeth Smith
  2. Had seven children, four were blue; they intermarried with local family 
  3. Genetic mutation reduces individual’s ability to carry oxygen in blood
  4. Intermarriage led to 'pure' gene pool which often met 'met-H' gene

In the Appalachian Mountains rests a medical oddity so unusual that it at first seems a massive hoax.

Dating back to the early 1800s, an isolated family in eastern Kentucky - who can trace their roots back to a French orphan - started producing children who were blue.

As a result of a coincidental meeting of recessive genes, intermarriage and inbreeding, members of the Fugate family were born with a rare condition that made them visibly discoloured.

The mystery behind the astonishing picture of the Fugates, which has been baffling people for years, appears to have finally been solved.

It began when Martin Fugate, a French orphan, settled on the banks of eastern Kentucky's Troublesome Creek to claim a land grant in the early 19th century.

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