So am I a Viking?
Yeah and? OK being blonde is not so unusual given our Viking heritage as a nation. Lots of English people have Norse genes as well as Saxon, Angle, Jute - whatever - there’s lots of tall blondeness in our national make-up. But the trouble lies in my understanding of genetics.
My mum and dad have brown eyes and dark hair. I have blonde hair and bluey grey eyes. I did O’level biology and it all seemed very clear then. Brown eyes, dominant. Blue eyes, recessive. But it does lead to talk when one looks so unlike one’s parents. Especially one’s dad.
So why are people so censorious when blue eyes show up in children of brown-eyed people? Clearly it ‘s because genes for blue eyes are lurkers - recessive genes staying in the background until a certain combination of genetic material occurs - a contribution of a recessive blue-eyed gene from each brown-eyed parent.
So even though genes producing brown eyes are dominant, it’s more common for brown-eyed parents to have blue-eyed children than for blue-eyed parents to have brown-eyed children.
Blood groups are fun too. If I look like a Viking, what would you expect my blood group to be?
I’m A+ as it happens.
According to the National Blood Service, the O group is the oldest of the blood groups. Back in the Stone Age, everyone would have been O and today it's still the most common group in the UK, especially in the North of England. Over in Central and South America and the USA most people are O too. The fact that anyone can receive O blood reflects the fact that all other blood groups are derived from it.
Group A is the second oldest blood group, appearing around 25,000 - 15,000BC, when larger human settlements first appeared as farming developed. You'll find a lot of A in Central and Eastern Europe. It's the commonest group in Norway, Denmark, Austria and Armenia.
If you're looking for group B, then try the Chinese or Asian communities, where around a quarter of all people share this blood group. It emerged between 15,000 and 10,000BC as tribes migrated from Africa to Europe, Asia and the Americas and mingled with other populations.
The newest and rarest group, AB, only appeared between 1000 and 500 years ago, and is believed to have occurred as a response to the mixing of existing blood groups on a major scale. In Japan, China and Pakistan around 10% of the population boast this rarest of blood groups.
So yup! Ladybird had me right! I am a throw back. Officially. Anyone for a spot of pillage and plunder? Span?