Blue eyes more common in Britain than any other eye colour

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Scientists have revealed that blue eyes have become more common in Britain than any other eye colour. This may be due to Brits finding the colour more sexually attractive than green or brown eyes.

It has been discovered by the Blue Eyes Project that although eyes in Britain used to be brown, 48% of them are now blue, 30% are green and only 22% are brown.

There are no distinct physical advantages to having blue eyes, such as improved eyesight, but the overpowering change of eye colour to blue has been attributed to a cross-Europe event.

The managing director of ScotlandsDNA, which did the research, Alistair Moffat, said many people think that blue eyes are more rare that it is actually is.

His suggestion for the dominance of blue eyes is that more people find it attractive and thus look for those with blue eyes to become their mates. He said that it can be viewed in the same manner as the tail of a peacock. The tail does not offer the peacock any additional advantages, except that he is able to acquire more mates.

The study logged eye colour across Ireland and the UK and found that Irish and Scottish people are more like to have blue eyes than any other regions in the UK, particularly in the south.

Around 35% of the south-west England population and 41% of those in the east of England have blue eyes, compared to southeast Scotland’s 57%.

Researchers stipulate that the mutation of the HERC2 gene where it turns off the supply of melanin which forms brown eyes, results in blue eyes. This change is also applicable to green eyes as it arises from a combination of brown with blue.

It is understood that the first mutation of the gene was in the Baltic region about 10000 years ago.

A scientist from the University of Copenhagen, Hans Eiberg, who discovered this said that blue eyes appear to be more attractive to possible partners than brown. He said that the mutation which occurred 10000 years ago has resulted in there being around 200 million pairs of blue eyes today, and those with blue eyes have more children.

He added that blue eyes are considered to be powerful. On a recent trip he took to China, all the gods in the temples have blue eyes, whilst everyone else has dark eyes.

He said the attraction may be because it used to be rare to have blue eyes.

Alistair Moffat has offered an alternate theory. He said blue eyes handle light differently and this gives them a natural sparkle. Eyes that are dark in colour are able to absorb the shorter and longer wavelengths and therefore do not appear to have a sparkle.

Some people believe that as blue eyes become the norm in Britain, it will lose its desirability. The chief scientific officer at the Blue Eyes Project, Dr Jim Wilson, said that if rarity is the reason for a feature being attractive, then this current process may be reversed. He said that if blue eyes become more dominant in Europe, brown eyes could become more desirable in the future.

Image Credit: Peter Dedina

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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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