A Family members have had blue skin for six generations

 The lagoon-blue skin of little Benjy Stancy caused fear and amazement when he was born in 1975.

It was before he realized that the child actually descended from a long line of blue-skinned people who had suffered from 200 years of methemoglobinemia, a deficiency in the build-up of hemoglobin that gives the skin a bluish color, as ABC News explains.

At the start of the 19th century, Martin Fugate, a blue-skinned French orphan, moved to eastern Kentucky, in the United States. He then met a fellow man, Elizabeth Smith, with whom he settled in the Appalachians. Both carrying the blue gene, their children inherited the same originality. And since they lived isolated in the mountains in small communities, the gene continued to be passed from generation to generation.

Since then, the mystery of this atypical skin color - increasingly rare due to the growing dispersal of communities - has been solved by Dr Cawein, a hematologist who died in 1985.

It is a very rare phenomenon, mixing genetics and geography, which explains this astonishing characteristic: generally hereditary, it can also be triggered by exposure to certain drugs or medications. The blue color corresponds to poor oxygenation of the body by the blood.

In theory, hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to the muscles. When the skin turns blue and the blood chocolate color, it means that methemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin useless in carrying oxygen, is present in excess in the body. Usually 1%, it accounts for 10-20% of total hemoglobin in people. A higher proportion would become dangerous, but at this level, the only physiological consequence is this strange color.This is why the Fugates lived as Smurfs until they were very old!

Source : ABC News

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