Eye Color Genetics are More Complicated than Previously Thought

According to a new study published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by King’s College London and Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam proved there are 50 new genes for eye color. In the most extensive genetic study of its kind to date, the researchers genetically analyzed almost 195,000 people throughout Europe and Asia.

Eye diseases such as pigmentary glaucoma and ocular albinism, where eye pigment levels play a role, will be better understood with the new research. Additionally, researchers discovered eye color in Asians with different shades of brown is genetically similar to eye color in Europeans ranging from dark brown to light blue.

Previous research identified a dozen genes linked to eye color, and scientists thought that eye color variations were controlled by a single gene or two. Typically, the perception was that brown eyes were more common/dominant than blue eyes.

Dr. Pirro Hyski, a co-senior author at King’s College London, said, “The findings are exciting because they bring us a step closer to understanding the genes that cause one of the most striking features of human faces, which has mystified generations throughout our history. This will improve our understanding of many diseases that we know are associated with specific pigmentation levels.”

Dr. Manfred Kayser, a co-senior author at Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, said, “This study delivers the genetic knowledge needed to improve eye color prediction from DNA as already applied in anthropological and forensic studies, but with limited accuracy for the non-brown and non-blue eye colors.”

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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