By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Doctors are baffled by the birth of a blonde-haired, white-skinned baby girl to a British couple from Nigeria who conceived naturally and have no white ancestors on either side.
London’s Sun is reporting that the baby, named Nmachi, which means “Beauty of God” in Nigerian, was born last week to Ben and Angela Ihegboro of South London who admit they were stunned when they first saw the child. Delivered by cesearan section at Queen Mary’s Hospital, she has a headful of blonde curly hair, blue eyes and pure white skin.
“We both just sat there after the birth staring at her for ages, not saying anything,” said 44 year-old Ben.
“She’s beautiful – a miracle baby,” said his wife, Angela, 35.
The couple have a son and a daughter who are both black and at first thought Nmachi was an albino, but doctors confirmed that she is not.
Of course, the possibility that Angela had been unfaithful to her husband was also considered – which she denies – and doctors say even if she had, the baby would never have been born white, blonde and blue-eyed.
Because the couple did not use any artificial means of fertilization, and has no mixed race ancestry on either side, doctors are completely baffled by the birth.
Professor Bryan Sykes, head of Human Genetics at Oxford University and Britain’s leading expert, called the birth “extraordinary”.
“In 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,” Professor Sykes told the Sun. “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.”
Professor Sykes also said that both parents would have needed “some form of white ancestry” for a pale version of their genes to be passed on.
“The hair is extremely unusual,” he added. “Even many blonde children don’t have blonde hair like this at birth.”
The only possible explanation is some unknown genetic mutation.
He admitted: “The rules of genetics are complex and we still don’t understand what happens in many cases.”
The couple says their son, Chisom, who is old enough to understand the difference between his new sister Nmachi and his two year-old sister Dumebi, often sits staring at the new baby with a perplexed look on his face.
Perhaps one day doctors will be able to explain it, but for now, all that matters to her parents is that she’s healthy.
“She’s beautiful and I love her,” Angela says. “Her color doesn’t matter. She’s a miracle baby.”
Photos of Nmachi and her family are available here.
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