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Eye heredity

  1. Dec 4, 2015 #1

    In the picture above a couple are shown with their children. Or are they actually their children? Is it possible for them, having green (?) and hazel (?) eyes, to get 1 child with blue eyes and 3 children with brown eyes?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    Is this question for schoolwork? If so, it needs to be posted in the Homework Help section of the PF, and you need to show your attempt at answering the question before we can offer tutorial help. :smile:
  4. Dec 5, 2015 #3
    Hello berkeman,

    It's not homework. But I recognize I should've provided with my own attempt at solving it.

    While using the pipette tool in MS Paint on the eyes of the parent marked as MF I find a mixture between gold and green, there's also some brown and even a little grey. In the other parent's eyes, marked as MM, I find reddish brown, dark gold and quite some blue and grey at the edges. My conclusion is that the eyes of the parent marked as MF classifies as either green or hazel eyes, and the eyes of the parent marked as MM classifies as hazel or amber.

    My take on it is that if both parents have hazel eyes then their children would also have hazel eyes or perhaps with a small possibility of blue eyes. Also, if one parent has green eyes and the other has hazel eyes then they'd have children with green eyes, hazel eyes or again with a small possibility of blue eyes. Except from mutations, the only possibility I can think of for the outcome as shown in the picture would be if one of the parents is actually classified as having brown eyes. But then again, the children should have inherited the same shade of brown as that parent and not a much darker version of it.

    Am I missing something basic or substantial? All help is welcome and appreciated.

  5. Dec 5, 2015 #4
    My eyes were hazel. Over the years they turned blue.
  6. Dec 6, 2015 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    This has a great explanation of your issue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_color

    1. Almost any combination of eye color in parents can have biological children with almost any eye color. It is very complex, not just blue (recessive) and brown dominant.

    2. Hazel and other colors are caused by scattering of light in the stroma of the iris. It is a layer in fibrous tissue in the iris of the eye.

    3. Changes to fibers in the stroma from environmental factors can and do alter eye color. For example: Medications like Travatan (for glaucoma) interact with the stroma the stroma. People with hazel or purple eyes using that med often wind up with darker colored eyes . I do not know if the changes are reversible.

    This means that hazel and some other colors are not fixed for life. Environmental factors are also responsible for changes in the stroma.

    So the answer to your question is: this is a biochemical/anatomical phenomenon. Analyzing the reflected wavelengths of light may be fun but probably not informative at all. People's eyes (anybody on the blue/gray/hazel, etc. side of things) can and do change color. They can also have kids with dark eyes -> not extremely likely but possible.
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