Back when you were in high school, your teacher probably told you that you could predict the eye color of your future child’s eyes by knowing which genes are dominant and which are recessive. It turns out that, much like many of the things you learned about in high school, things are a lot more complicated than what is taught in class.
For starters, there are multiple genes that control eye color.
Predicting the eye color of your future offspring using the techniques you learned in high school is about as accurate as choosing the winner of the Super Bowl from the Puppy Bowl predictions. There’s a lot of science behind your eye color and the process is a lot more complicated than you may think.
Here are some eye color facts you should know.
What’s In Eye Color, Anyway?
Eye color is caused by varying levels of the pigment melanin. How much melanin you have is determined by several genes and how those genes interact with each other.
- Lower melanin levels lead to lighter eyes while higher melanin levels lead to darker eyes.
- Contrary to popular belief, all babies are not born with blue eyes, though most Caucasian-American babies are. Eye color is basically set by a baby’s first birthday.
- The OCA₂ gene produces the P protein that determines eye pigment.
- The HERC₂ gene limits the OCA₂ gene’s P protein production.
- There can be genetic variations.
What Does Your Eye Color Say About You?
Like it or not, people make a lot of snap judgments about you based upon your appearance. Your eye color, for example, can affect how people perceive you just as your clothing or other features can.
But, there are a few things that seem to correlate with your eye color from an empirical standpoint. It’s important to note though that correlation does not imply causation.
Here’s what people believe they can tell about you based on your eye color:
- A study showed that people tended to rank brown eyed people as looking more trustworthy than those with lighter eyes.
- Empirical data show that people with lighter eye colors tend to do better at sports that involve breaks, like bowling. People with darker eyes tend to do better with sports that involve reaction times, like boxing.
- Another study found that people with lighter eye colors tend to be more competitive.
- The same study showed that people with darker eyes tend to be more sympathetic than people with lighter eyes.
Genes Aren’t Everything
Sometimes your genes can go awry and leave you with an atypical outcome. Instead of ending up with blue eyes or green eyes, you can end up with two differently colored eyes or even one eye that features multiple colors. Kiefer Sutherland is known for having eyes that are two different shades of blue while Mila Kunis is known for having one green and one hazel eye.
Elizabeth Berkley, who skyrocketed to fame in Saved by the Bell, has one eye that features half brown and half green pigments in her iris. On the other hand, David Bowie had the appearance of one of these conditions, but it was actually a permanently dilated pupil from a teenage fight over a girl.
Not All Babies Are Born With Blue Eyes
You may have heard it said on occasions that all babies are born with blue eyes. While that is generally true for Caucasian-American babies, babies from darker skinned ethnicities are more likely to be born with darker eyes.
A baby’s eye color can change until around his first birthday, thanks to melanocyte level activity. After that, only about one in six Caucasian American babies will retain their blue eye color. This is one of the amazing eye color facts not all people are aware of.
Learn The Science Behind Eye Color
Eye color is a lot more complicated than what you were led to believe in freshman biology. Considering the many factors that come into play in determining eye colors, it’s a wonder how people can even become people with all those genetic variations.
Learn more eye color facts from this infographic! You might be surprised to learn that there’s so much more than meets the eye!
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.