Medical Definition of Eye color

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Eye color: The color of the iris. The genetics of eye color are complicated. Eye color is polygenic. It is determined by multiple genes. The eye color genes include EYCL1 (a green/blue eye color gene located on chromosome 19), EYCL2 (a brown eye color gene) and EYCL3 (a brown/blue eye color gene located on chromosome 15). There are clearly other genes that influence eye color. The once-held view that blue eye color is a simple recessive trait has been shown to be wrong. The genetics of eye color are so complex that almost any parent-child combination of eye colors can occur.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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