Can a Baby Have a Different Eye Color Than Both of His or Her Parents?

Eye Color

Despite the fact that most people study basic genetics in high school biology class, when it comes time for the practical application of these studies in real life, it can be difficult to remember the basics of genetics.

For example, one question we field sometimes when people consult us about paternity DNA testing? “Can two blue eyed parents have a brown eyed baby?”

There is definitely some confusion when it comes to this topic! Read on for the answer.

The Eyes Have It: Genetics & Eye Color

The Davenport Model

Often, people believe that two parents with brown eyes can’t have a blue-eyed child, all because of a model devised by scientists G.C. and C.B. Davenport in 1907. They asserted that brown eye color would always be dominant over blue eyes.

Now, scientists have found that this model is incorrect. Despite being uncommon, it is possible for blue-eyed parents to have brown-eyed children, and vice versa.


How is this possible? Eye color is usually determined by the OCA2 gene on chromosome 15. “Weaker” forms of OCA2 result in blue eyes, and “stronger” forms result in brown eyes.

However, this isn’t the only gene that affects eye color. Lesser genes can be strong and impact how the weak (or blue) form of OCA2 functions, resulting in light brown, muddy grey, hazel, green, or blue eyes, depending on the situation.

Does Eye Color Predict Paternity?

So what does this mean for your family? Basically, you should not be concerned if a child has different colored eyes than both of his or her parents, as this does not necessarily prove any infidelity.

Of course, the only way to be sure of a child’s paternity is through DNA testing. Test Smartly Labs of Lee’s Summit provides court-admissible, discreet, and confidential paternity and maternity testing as well as other types of relationship DNA testing. If you are suspicious and want to confirm any biological relationships, call (816) 875-9301 today!

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