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Genetics/eye color


QUESTION: I know that eye color is controlled by different genes etc.  However, my mother had nearly black eyes, while my father's eyes were a very light blue grey..more like a very light grey in some lighting they would appear almost white. No he was not albino, as he had relatively dark skin and nearly black hair.  

My eye color is a reddish brown near the pupil with the rest of the iris being a green color and a very dark brown/black rim around the iris. I guess they could be considered hazel, but not quite, they are more like a mosaic. I am wondering how my genetics lined up to give me the coloring of my eyes.  I have been told by several people that my eye color is so unique, they thought I was wearing colored contacts, and were very surprised to find out that I wasn't.

Thank you.  Looking forward to your answer.


PS.  My kids' dad has brown eyes..kind of reddish brown.  Both our daughters have very dark brown eyes (dark chocolate mixed with a little milk chocolate), though not as dark as my Mom's.   My oldest son also has brown eyes, while not as dark as his sister's, darker than either of ours (kinda like tree bark).  Our youngest son has blue eyes, a very bright blue, kind of like the sky on a clear day but a little darker.

ANSWER: hi Tanya,
You may have a condition called sectoral heterochromia iridis where a part of one iris is a different color from the remaining. It can be caused by differences in the amount of pigment or caused by  genetic differences. Eye color is determined by several genes. You may be carrying genes for different color with equal expression.
Sometimes, it can result from a viral infection in utero affecting the development of one eye, possibly through some sort of genetic mutation.
A common cause in females arises from differences in inactivation of genes on the X chromosomes (a normal genetic condition) with heterochromia is X-inactivation, which can result in a number of heterochromatic traits, such as calico cats.

In the absence of trauma or eye injury, I think you may have the rare condition of difference eye color genes expressing in different parts of the iris during fetal period.


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left eye
left eye  

right eye
right eye  
QUESTION: I thought you would like to see a close up of my eye.

Hi Tanya,

Thanks for sharing your eye picture.  Here are some examples. Some images are similar to yours but others are much more intense than yours.




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Thanemozhi Natarajan


Answers in Genetics, genomics, cytogenetics of syndromes, congenital anomalies, cancer, clinical genomics and interpretation of omics data.


More than 10 years. Doctoral research thesis on Congenital anomalies and cytogenetics, Recurrent reproductive failure and chromosomal abnormalities. Postdoctoral experience in Breast cancer research. Current: Clinical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics.


Cancer Cell International, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Breast cancer research and treatment, Indian Journal of Pediatrics, BMC Proceedings, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, Human Molecular Genetics, Frontiers in Genetics, Cancer Biomarkers.

PhD Biomedical Genetics

Awards and Honors
University Grants Commission Award for pursuing PhD level research (India); Travel awards to attend conferences.

Past/Present Clients
Post doctoral experience Cancer research, molecular epidemiology Current: Clininical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics

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