The Appalachian Fugates &
Early Humans’ Interbreeding
This a short tale about a Kentucky family, their rare recessive genes and the correlation of their condition to what happened thousands of years ago. Somewhere between then and the 1800s, when a Frenchman Martin Fugate married a local girl, scientists learned about blue methylene and the perils of interbreeding.
Recent findings about human ancestry showed that we already were, as it turns out, a pretty promiscuous species, even in our early times on Earth. DNA sequencing of Neanderthal bones and of another Asia-based population of hominins, all genetically distinct from our own makeup, showed that both groups interbred with our ancestors.
In the case of pre-humans, the reason for such interbreeding may have been survival of the species, or at least, part of its genetic code. For despite having gone the way of the dinosaurs, give or take a few dozen million years, both groups remain alive inside the Homo sapiens’s genomic mixture, through a process known as hybridization.
As for families living in isolated areas in the early 1900s and before, interbreeding was pretty much the only game in town. As you’d come to age to form your own family, your cousin was pretty much the only other single you’d ever known, give or take a few other people living in Continue reading