Eye color prediction using single nucleotide polymorphisms in Saudi population

Jahad Alghamdi, Manal Amoudi, Ahmad Ch. Kassab, Mansour Al Mufarrej, Saleh Al Ghamdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: DNA prediction of eye color represent one application of the externally visible characteristics (EVC), which attained growing interest in the field of DNA forensic phenotyping. This is mainly due to its ability to narrow the pool of suspects without the need to compare any retrieved DNA material from the crime scene to a reference DNA. Several methods and multiplex genetic panel were proposed with variable prediction accuracy between different populations. However, such panel was not previously tested in the Saudi population, nor any populations of the Middle East and North Africa origin. Method: A panel of eleven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was tested for their association with three eye colors (brown, hazel, and intermediate) in 80 volunteer Saudi individuals. SNPs and haplotype association test with eye colors were performed to identify the top significant SNPs with the three eye colors. Also, multinomial logistic regression was used to construct the prediction model using a training set of 60 subjects, and a validation set of 20 subjects. The goodness of fit parameter of the model to correctly predicts each eye color as compared to the other was performed. Results: Eye color was significantly associated with rs12913832, rs7170852, and rs916977 that are located within HERC2. SNP rs12913832 was the top significant SNP (p-value = 1.78E−15) that accounted for the association in this region, as the other SNPs were not significant after adjusting for rs12913832. A prediction model containing five SNPs showed high prediction accuracy with Area Under the receiver operating characteristic Curves (AUC) equals to 0.95 and 0.83 for brown and intermediate eye colors, respectively. However, the model's performance was very low for predicting the hazel eye color with AUC equals 0.75. Discussion: Despite the small sample size of our study, we reported very significant SNP associations with eye color. Our model to predict eye colors based on DNA material showed high accuracy for brown and intermediate eye colors. The eye color prediction-model underperformed for the hazel eye colors, suggesting that larger sample size, as well as more comprehensive set of SNPs, could improve the model-prediction accuracy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1607-1612
Number of pages6
JournalSaudi Journal of Biological Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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