March 2021
Vol 7, Issue 11

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER In addition to standing out as a prominent feature of the human face, eye color is associated with risk for various diseases, including skin cancer. A small number of genes had been previously associated with eye color. However, much of this trait's variability—especially the genes influencing darker and intermediate colors—remained unknown. To better understand the genetic influences behind eye color, Simcoe et al. conducted a genome-wide association study with 192,986 European participants from 10 populations. The researchers found 124 genetic variants from 61 genomic regions that together determine eye color. These include genes involved in melanin pigmentation and iris morphology and structure. Simcoe et al. also analyzed eye color in 1,636 Asian participants from 2 populations, finding that their iris pigmentation variation was similar to that of the European participants. Together, the findings explain 53.3% of eye color variation using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). [CREDIT: BRADLEY BLACKBURN/SHUTTERSTOCK]