Eye color is determined by a complex set of genes that are passed down to us by our parents. Eye color has always been one of the most fascinating of genetic traits. It is one of the first things that people look for in a newborn baby because it can never be predicted with 100 percent certainty. The combination of three different genes determines our eye color, and these combinations are not yet fully understood. We know the genetic factors of the most common colors, brown, blue, and green, but other, more complex colors, such as hazel, gray, or yellow/amber are as yet not understood.
For the most part, two of the three determining genes play the biggest role in eye color. Geneticists once believed that brown was the dominant color and blue was a recessive trait, but as science probed further, we found it to be more complicated than that. Although brown can dominate over blue and green, brown doesn’t always win out. In many cases, blue-eyed children are the product of one parent with brown eyes and the other with blue. Green eye color also dominates over blue, but like brown, it isn’t necessarily passed on through a couple with different eye colors.
Many children are born with one eye color and then it changes as they grow older. This occurs most frequently in light-skinned people with light-colored eyes. Grays and blues can change into each other. Brown can also change into hazel and vice-versa. Eye color is produced by the same chemical that produces dark skin, melanin. The changes in eye color are due to the fact that melanin production in the eyes can be delayed for 1 -3 years or even well into puberty. So far, science has no way of changing eye color. The best we can do is to wear colored contact lenses.
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