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How to Predict Your Baby’s Eye Color – You May Be Surprised

Familiy eye color

One of the most fun things about having a baby is seeing which traits they inherit from each parent. It’s fun to try to guess before the baby is born, too – for example, what eye color will my baby have?

If you’ve met my family (or just looked at the picture in the post) you might not think eye color was a particularly interesting trait for us to speculate about. My wife and I have brown eyes, as does my daughter, and brown is far and away the most common eye color for people of African ancestry. Mixed kids can have all sorts of delightful variation of facial features, skin tone, hair, but we pretty much know our new baby will have brown eyes, right?

It turns out that our baby has a 26% chance of green/hazel eyes and even a 4% chance of blue eyes:

Using 23andme to predict eye color

This is from our report at 23andme. It’s pretty cool that we can get this information at all – we are living in the future, in a time genetic sequencing is done for fun.

How can this be? If you remember back to high school biology class, it’s all about genetics. Brown is the dominant gene, so you need the recessive gene from both parents in order to get another eye color. There’s a good explanation of it here.

Even though my eyes are brown, I must have inherited the recessive gene from my mom. My wife has some European ancestry in her family tree, so it looks like that recessive gene was passed down generation after generation all the way to her.

If you don’t have 23andme, you can get a reasonable prediction with this tool from the Tech Museum:

One other thing to note about a newborn’s eye color – you might not even know their eye color after they are born. Newborns often have gray-colored eyes, which change over time. No one told me this before my first daughter was born, so I was pretty surprised when she looked at me with those silvery gray eyes.

By the way, we are asking the internet to vote on the name of our baby boy! For each vote, $1 will be donated to Save the Children.

If you have a minute, please give us your vote.

Further reading about eye color in mixed populations:

1000 Votes in our Baby Name Poll – Which Name is Winning?

We’ve passed 1,000 votes in our baby name poll!

Now we have enough data to start showing off the top names:

Looks like Alexander, Isaac and Finn have taken an early lead. I haven’t done any real data analysis yet, but we’re getting enough votes now that I won’t be able to resist for long.

If you haven’t voted, please follow this link to the form. For each vote, we (and some other folks at Google) have pledged to donate $1 to Save the Children. Just by voting, you ensure a child receives a polio vaccine.

See the original post and the FAQ for more info.

Hey Internet, Help Us Name Our Baby!

My familyFive years ago, I used a Google Form to ask friends, family, and random readers of my blog to help us pick a name for our first-born child. Before I knew it, it was picked up by some other blogs, then news sites, then suddenly I was doing radio and TV interviews. We ended up with over 10,000 votes from all around the world.  Two months later our daughter was born, and the Internet had helped us pick the perfect name – Athena.

While it was certainly fun to be on TV and show off Google Forms, the best part of the experience was seeing all the great positive energy my little baby name project created.  People seemed to really enjoy this story of a geeky Googler asking the Internet to help name his kid, and were excited to vote, discuss suggestions, and pass the story on.

We are expecting again and we’d like to harness some of that positive energy for something more meaningful.  We are raising money for Save the Children so we can bring our new son into the world while helping kids around the world.

My wife and I (along with some other Googlers) have pledged to donate $1 for each vote –   see details in the FAQ.  For $1, Save the Children can provide one complete polio vaccination course for a child.  Just by voting, you will be helping a child in need.  If you would like to join us and donate $1 of your own, please go to this OneToday campaign.  Google OneToday makes donating to a good cause easy and fun.

If you’d like to help us name our baby and support a great charity at the same time, please vote on the Google Form (see below).  If you want to follow the votes and find out which name ends up on top, please go to my blog or follow me on Google+ or Twitter.

And if you ever need to name a baby of your own, I highly recommend Google Forms.  Setting up a form or survey is easy, and the results are automatically put into a spreadsheet for you as they come in.

Questions?  See the FAQ post or leave a comment below.