Eye color has fascinated people throughout history. Myths and legends grew up around the rarer colors gracing these "windows to the soul." Some superstitions and folklore, such as the link between eye colors with certain abilities and personality traits, survive into modern times, even though we now know that genetics determines eye color. Still, scientific advancement has revealed that the genetics behind eye color are more complex than researchers first believed.


1. Genetics of Eye Color

Eye color was once viewed as a basic Mendelian trait determined by one set of genes with dominant and recessive alleles. More recent research discovered eye color doesn't follow classical inheritance patterns. Approximately 16 genes determine eye color, and genes are influenced by incomplete dominance and epistasis. Epistasis means that a gene is affected by the expression of one or more additional genes. In short, eye color depends on many different genes and their effects on each other.

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