BAYO's Mixed Race Ad -- A Scientist's Perspective

2:13 PM Jean Melgar 0 Comments

Scientist. Eherm

A lot has been said about this campaign, most of which are negative. Some say it is racist. Some interpret it as needing foreign blood to look good. Based on genetics, that's not actually far from true. But that's for another post. 

So what's this BAYO ad? For those who have been hiding under a rock.
(Click on the images for a better view.)
"How in this world did they calculate those figures?" was my first reaction. But I moved on, lived my life like usual. It bothered me but didn't affect me personally, so, like, yeah whatever. But a lot of my friends has been asking me to explain. I will try to explain in the most simple manner. I hope I will not come off like I'm smarter than anyone. I'm not. It just happens that Genetics and Molecular Biology are my majors. So, here goes. 

I assume the percentages presented are indicative of their lineage. It is also supported by the physical features of the models. If we base it on that, a possible calculation for the 60/40 Fil-Brit will be: 

British father is 1/4 Filipino (Paternal grandparent may have been 1/2 Filipino). Mother is 100% Filipino. This makes the model 5/8 Filipino which is 62.5%. Round that and you get 60%. (Thank you, Ria, for this calculation. Math is not one of my strengths.)

Some will accept that answer/calculation. I do not. I will not. Here's why.

Migration. Where do you think we all originated? Did we, Filipinos, just grew from Philippine soil? No. This is the same for all nationalities. Everyone came from somewhere. And that somewhere is Africa. Yes, we all came from Africa.

Aside from originating from one continent, our ancestors moved from one place to another. Look at all those arrows and where they've passed by. Read more here.

Interbreeding. According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), up to 2% of the genomes of some modern African populations may have originated from a closely related species. That means, our ancestors did the hanky panky with other species in the Homo genus. Kinda eeewy, right?

Edit: Another group contradicts this and published their study in the same journal.

Interracial breeding. Do you think your ancestors only procreated with the same race ever since the world began? If they did, they would have mated with their family at one point. The probability of having sick offspring is very high. Survival of the fittest is key. Interracial mating is very common. Not just your parents but the parents of your parents and so on. You get the point.

Mutation. No, we are not members of the X-Men. Dream on. Do you wonder, if we all came from Africa, how come some have white skin? A study in 2005 concluded that a small genetic mutation on one individual occurred after the initial migration out of Africa. The mutation proved to be dominant and was passed on to offspring. This is the same for the light skin color of Asians. Just a single letter change out of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome and you get a completely different appearance.
Environment. Every student who took Genetics as a subject should know this: 
    P = G + E + (G x E)
where:  P = phenotype (physical appearance)
                G = genotype (DNA yo!)
                E = environment
Yours and your ancestors' previous living conditions and location play a pivotal role on how you look. 

‎"Although genetic analyses of large numbers of loci can produce estimates of the percentage of a person's ancestors coming from various continental populations (Shriver et al. 2003; Bamshad et al. 2004), these estimates may assume a false distinctiveness of the parental populations, since human groups have exchanged mates from local to continental scales throughout history (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994; Hoerder 2002). Even with large numbers of markers, information for estimating admixture proportions of individuals or groups is limited, and estimates typically will have wide confidence intervals (Pfaff et al. 2004)."

There are many other factors but consider all of these, can you just simply put a number?

The Human Genome Project was completed in April 2003. We have all the information we need and here we are. Tsk.