Children inherit their eye colour from the genes of both parents. Eye colour is determined by eye colour of both the mother and father and whether the genes are dominant genes or recessive genes. Try the tool for yourself!
Eye colour is a physical trait determined by the pairing of genes from both parents, however, it appears that certain drugs may modify eye colour so perhaps environmental factors also contribute.
There are three eye colour genes which are known to scientists but only two of these are well understood. They explain the inheritance of brown, green and blue-eye colours. However they don’t explain why some children have grey, hazel or varying shades of colour. Genes are the basic unit of heredity; which determine many individual baby characteristics. Genes also come in pairs. ‘Alleles’ are found in genes and determine the appearance of any characteristic. There are two alleles for each trait inherited.
One allele is expressed more strongly over the other allele. This is called the dominant allele, the unexpressed allele is called recessive. With eye colour, the brown allele is always dominant over the green and blue alleles, the green allele is always dominant over the blue allele, and the blue allele is always recessive. Brown eyes are dominant in humans and in many parts of the world. Over half of the world’s population have them.
Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes, regardless of the eye colours of their parents. African, Asian and Hispanic babies are generally born with brown eyes because of having more of the pigment Melanin in their eyes and skin. A child’s true eye colour cannot be determined until around their second birthday. But for many babies, their eyes have become their permanent colour before then.
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