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Genome-Wide Association Studies Identify Multiple Genetic Loci Influencing Eyebrow Color Variation in Europeans

NCJ Number
Journal of Investigative Dermatology Volume: 139 Issue: 7 Dated: 2019 Pages: 1601-1605
Date Published
5 pages
This article reports on the methodology and findings of a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for eyebrow color.

The meta-analysis included 6,513 Europeans from three cohorts. Eyebrow color was graded into four broad ordinal categories (red, blond, brown, and black) by using photonumeric scales. The discovery stage meta-analysis of three GWASs identified 355 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at six distinct genetic loci, showing genome-wide significant association with eyebrow color. The eyebrow color GWASs in Europeans highlighted six genome-wide significant genetic loci that harbor six well-known pigmentation genes and a gene that the researchers believe has not been previously reported (C10orf11). Results suggest that the prediction accuracy for eyebrow color should be at a similar level to that for hair color in the same sample set under equal phenotype accuracy. An eyebrow color prediction model was trained in 3,114 participants and validated in 779 independent participants not included in the GWAS. Red eyebrow color was excluded from the prediction analysis because none of the individuals had the phenotype. The DNA-based eyebrow color prediction model developed in this project should be useful in future forensic applications.

Date Published: January 1, 2019