Friday, April 8, 2016

Genetics (Eyes)

A friend of mine recently brought up ancestry and asked if anyone had interest in studying their genealogy.

It got me to thinking about my family history, which I only know a little of, and how certain things effect us or might've effected us. Who knows what choices our ancestors made that had a key role in effecting our life today.

Genetics though is one thing that isn't a choice(sadly in some cases), but is an easily discernible link a lot of times.

It's interesting how some siblings can look so much alike and others not at all. Or a kid that resembles a grandparent or an uncle when they were that age.

I wish I could have the little genetic details from relatives of my past to see what they have that got passed down to me.

Since I can only work with what I have, I decided to put together a fun little post about my family's genetic traits. I didn't shy away from the strange factors, so hopefully things like toes and such don't gross you out. As I really dove into this project, I realized it needed to be spread into a series as there was so much content building up.

I started with eye color, since that's an easy one. I found out how difficult it is to get decent lighting for eye pictures. So some of these may be a bit dark or have a light glare on them. I'll try and take some better ones before the post goes up. Add in squirmy kids and it's a real treat!

My maternal grandmother has light blue eyes and my maternal grandfather had bright blue eyes. Sadly I am not able to get a photo of my grandpa's eyes as he passed away over 20 years ago and it's truly amazing how much photography has changed since then. I was able to take a picture of a picture that's a copy of a picture. (haha, follow that.) Basically we have an amazing photo of him and my mom made a copy of it for me and I was able to take a picture of that. So the quality isn't the greatest and I can't get all the detail and closeness that I'd like, but they're a close match for my mother's which you should be able to tell.

My mother has the prettiest eyes I've ever seen. We always described them as "husky blue" and I wish I'd inherited them. It's just not right. You'll also notice in my familiy our eyelashes run on the "thin" side. It's harder to tell for my sister's where they have mascara on, but we all have very minuscule lashes.

I don't have a picture of my father's eyes, but I did find a picture that closely matched. (yellow/green)

My youngest sister's eyes come the closest to matching my mothers. Hers fall more in a sea-blue spectrum. She has just enough of that green color to add an interesting hue that makes her color a solid blue that looks unique from both parents and siblings.

I was unable to get a picture of my middle sister's eyes, so I'm not sure what shade they are. 

My brother and my oldest(of my three younger sisters) sister have similar eye color. 

My sister was out to get the perfect eye picture, so hopefully if she ever reads this she'll be okay with the one I chose since my computer has a bazillion pictures of her eye now!

My sister's came out clearer, but you should be able to see that both are primarily blue with a random patch(or patches in my brother's case) of yellow/green. Almost like the two colors had a custody battle. "Okay so blue gets 3/4 of the iris and the yellow/green gets 1/4."

In a stroke of bad luck, I got a blended hybrid of both. Don't ask me what color they are. The answer is "weird". They look like some weird green, blue, yellow color on the outside is eating the blue color. I imagine they're at war and the blue around the pupil is losing to the invading mass of weirdness.

Though my eyes are different than my sister's, it's easy to see the connection when looking back a generation. My husband brought a new color to the mix: a really dark, solid brown. The other genetic trait is his eyelashes. Let's talk about how much I hate that he has the perfect eyelashes! (hate as in I want them.)

Our kids started out with the "baby blue/grey" eyes. Here's a dark picture of Elaina's eye. It's hard to tell, but if you look to the right of the pupil you can see where it's starting to turn brown. She also seems to be developing the "Kooistra lashes". (and I did try and take another picture, but it still didn't come out that well.)
At first I thought Cheyenne and Luke's eyes were perfect matches for their father's. Recently I noticed that the brown is not as solid or as dark.

Cheyenne's eyes are a chocolately brown that dominates most of the iris. But on the very edge, around the rim, you can see there's some weird color that resembles my weird color. You can also see that she got her daddy's lashes(lucky!).

Luke's eyes are about half-and-half. He's got brown centers which unless you're looking closely make his eyes seem completely brown. The outsides are the "weird" color. He also has those gorgeous lashes. *sigh* Now, I could not get him to sit still and look at me for ANYTHING. So this horrible glare-y picture is all I can get.
Eyes are so unique and fascinating. There's also the shape of eyes to consider. My husband's aunt and mother(pictured below) have a very similar eye shape that closely resembles their father's.

Eyes are just the beginning, and it's easy to find connections through the generations. Some things stand out more in some family's than others. Ears, hands, feet, noses.

I'm hoping to make some more posts like this. Right now my kids are fighting off the flu! So I'm not sure what my blogging will look like for next week.


  1. I love genetics--even considering going into genetics as a scientist though I eventually returned to writing as my passion. Still, it's so much fun to observe eye colors, hair colors, and other genetics traits! I loved this post!

    Sorry to hear they're suffering from the flu. :( Hope everyone is feeling better soon. *sends blankets and warm soup and tea*

    1. Wow! I didn't know that about you. That's really interesting. It is fun to look at family's and try and see all the things they have in common. I'm a people watcher haha.

      I'm glad you liked it! I had a lot of fun putting it together, but I was a bit nervous that it'd bore people.

      Yay for warming things! I'm really hoping my son gets better. He's not been a happy camper.

  2. Love this. Especially because I have unique eyes in my family, too. My mom has green, my dad has blue. My eyes are green around the iris, but dark blue everywhere else. My sisters all have blue eyes. I'm really interested to see how kids turn out because the husband has hazel eyes that are fairly green. I wonder if our kids will inherit the green from us!

    1. I love blue eyes! And green eyes have the potential to be really pretty. I would've loved a pretty pair of green eyes to blend with my mother's blue. That would've made some really interesting combos.

      I'm actually surprised none of the kids have gone completely green/blue since it's so strong on my family's side.

  3. In think my dad and brother have brown eyes and me and my mum have blue ones. Although hers are proper blue and mine have a green tint.