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Croat Med J. 2013 Jun;54(3):248-56.

Improved eye- and skin-color prediction based on 8 SNPs.

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Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Forensic Biology, 421East 26th Street, Box 12-79, New York, NY 10016, USA.



To improve the 7-plex system to predict eye and skin color by increasing precision and detailed phenotypic descriptions.


Analysis of an eighth single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs12896399 (SLC24A4), showed a statistically significant association with human eye color (P=0.007) but a rather poor strength of agreement (κ=0.063). This SNP was added to the 7-plex system (rs12913832 at HERC2, rs1545397 at OCA2, rs16891982 at SLC45A2, rs1426654 at SLC24A5, rs885479 at MC1R, rs6119471 at ASIP, and rs12203592 at IRF4). Further, the instruction guidelines on the interpretation of genotypes were changed to create a new 8-plex system. This was based on the analysis of an 803-sample training set of various populations. The newly developed 8-plex system can predict the eye colors brown, green, and blue, and skin colors light, not dark, and not light. It is superior to the 7-plex system with its additional ability to predict blue eye and light skin color.


The 8-plex system was tested on an additional 212 samples, the test set. Analysis showed that the number of positive descriptions for eye colors as being brown, green, or blue increased significantly (P=6.98e-15, z-score: -7.786). The error rate for eye-color prediction was low, at approximately 5%, while the skin color prediction showed no error in the test set (1% in training set).


We can conclude that the new 8-plex system for the prediction of eye and skin color substantially enhances its former version.

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