Not the Smurfs: Blue Family Case Explained by Science

(Image source: Playback / Daily Mail)

As reported by the British Daily Mail, a family from the Appalachian Mountains, a remote area of ​​Kentucky, has been raising blue children for over two hundred years.

Photographing one of the first generations of the lineage may even look like a Photoshop montage or a joke in which people want to look like the charismatic characters from the Smurfs cartoon and feature series. However, it is real, and science explains what happened to the members of this family being born with bluish skin.

The cause

It all started around the year 1800, when the Frenchman Martin Fugate married Elizabeth Smith, a young American. The couple had seven children, four of whom were born blue. Since the family lived in a remote location, members of the same lineage eventually got along and married.

The union of the recessive genes of some of these members caused a genetic disorder called metahemoglobinemia (also known as meta-Hb). This dysfunction causes a type of hemoglobin, which cannot carry oxygen through the blood, to have its high concentration, making the fluid that runs through veins and arteries becomes darker.

EnlargeDisorders with the dysfunction received their parents' recessive genes, as exemplified by the generic scheme above. (Image source: Reproduction / Wikimedia Commons)

Such a hue of blood is responsible for giving the impression that the skin of people with this genetic disorder looks blue. With the growth and withdrawal of the Fugate family, new genes have been added to the strain, reducing the incidence of dysfunction.

Today, the number of people with methemoglobinemia is very low. According to the publication, although they cause strangeness, bluish people do not have other diseases caused by the dysfunction.