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Name: Deanna J.
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: December 2002

In our GED studies class,the type of genetic codes presented brought up this question.We used Michael Jackson as a example.Is it possible that the recessive gene can become the dominate gene over the course of 1 persons life span.Thus a dark complected person becomes a white complected person or visa-versa.If so,why and how does this occur.

Michael Jackson's skin color has not changed in his life time. He claims to have a disease called vittiligo (I am not sure if that is the correct spelling) in which his skin has patches of white. This disorder occurs in all races. It is where some of the pigment producing cells are not working properly, so they do not produce pigment. The rest of them are.

He claims to use skin lightening makeup to even out the tone of his skin. (Of course, he could have used skin darkening makeup to cover the light areas!) Either that, or he has artificially lightened his skin another way. However, unless some new phenomenon has been discovered that I do not know about, once you are created at fertilization your genetic program is set for life and does not change in your lifetime.


I am not an anthropogeneticist, but the case of M. Jackson seems to be a skin disease, in which the skin cells loose their property to build melanin (the color compound of skin). Thus, white patches appear, frequently on face and hands, later all over the body. The skin is left unprotected against sun rays. With a person with dark complexity, such white patches are even more visible than with a white person. The unattractive discoloring has probably forced the artist to hide his face whenever he can.

Trudy Wassenaar

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