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TheOnlyException's avatar

Why do a lot of asian people from Pakistan/India have interestingly coloured eyes?

Asked by TheOnlyException (2174 points ) March 30th, 2010

I’m south asian myself and have the regulation deep brown eyes, not complaining, but some asian friends I have that come from India/Pakistan have green/blue/grey/light hazel eyes and with their skin tone they look, just, amazing! Kind of ethereal for all of them, (but especially in the case of the men, i cannot stop staring!)
It is simply beautiful (have to admit i’m jealous) :)
But I noticed every asian person i know/have met with these sort of eyes have come from pakistan in some way.

just anyone know why a) a lot of them have light coloured/unusual coloured eyes

b) are fairly light in their skin tone, but asian. (they look like an asian/caucasian mix, but they aren’t? sorry doing my best to describe what i mean! haha)

this is an odd question but i am curious as to the genetics/geography of the whole thing being a biology/science student in general.
(am thinking of studying this for my extended project in july)

my parents come from sri lanka, and people with non-brown eyes are VERY rare, as are very light-skinned asians there. but when i have visited pakistan, i notice them a lot.

any insight you can give me would be good.
throw some sciencey shit about alleles and pheno/genotypes in there if ya like! i dont mind :)

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30 Answers

Pandora's avatar

My guess is that it is all middle eastern territory and there has always been a huge mix and the races have probably blended over the hundreds of years. Nomads had a tendency to roam and so they mixed in with the different races.

Seek's avatar

I know what you mean! I have a friend from Pakistan, who happens to be 1/8 Chinese, and his eyes are very nearly the same honey-colour as his skin! It’s very interesting.

Jude's avatar

I don’t know the answer to this. It’s an interesting question. :)

I have a few friends from Pakistan and wow, their light eye color/along with dark hair.. it’s beautiful.

Arisztid's avatar

Genetic diversity. I do not know how many peoples are in Pakistan, but that would easily explain it. The more ethnicities mix together, the more diversity you shall see. The range shall be greater.

If they have a nomadic past or present, that would explain it. I am from a nomadic people and I have a very unusual eye color (light lavender) that, shall we say, the Ladies are fond of.

anartist's avatar

Could it be simply an evolutionary difference between northern and southern Indian peoples? Just as in Europe the northern peoples tend to have lighter skin, eyes, and hair and the southern tend to have darker skin, eyes and hair?

anartist's avatar

@Arisztid “link“what color are your eyes?

Arisztid's avatar

@anartist Light lavender. I edited it into my answer. :P It is an eye color only seen in my Clan and recessive with a capital R meaning that I have genetic donors on both sides that were from the same Clan and a lot of luck on my part.

lilikoi's avatar

I have not experienced what you are talking about. Asian people from those places that I’ve met all have brown eyes.

Brown eyes are dominant and all other colors are recessive alleles. If both genes from your mother and father are for brown eyes, you have brown eyes. If one gene is for brown while the other is for something else, you still have brown eyes. If you have both genes for green eyes, only then do you have green eyes. That’s how eye color works across all ethnicities. Perhaps they just are more likely to pass on the recessive alleles for some reason.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@lilikoi No, I know about recessive alleles etc. But I was just wondering why a lot of is concentrated to that geographical location?

anartist's avatar

@Arisztid Elizabeth Taylor had violet eyes, I think. Any similarity, are yours lighter? They sound dreamy…

lilikoi's avatar

@TheOnlyException

Like I said, one logical possibility is that they just are more likely to pass on the recessive alleles for some reason. Maybe the recessive alleles are more common / easier to come by in that region. But still, I have met many Indians, all have had brown eyes, dark dark brown eyes at that.

Arisztid's avatar

@anartist Mine are a lot lighter and thankyou. :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@lilikoi that would make sense. But everytime i get an answer i find a way to dig a little deeper. like what IS IT that makes them more likely to pass it on?
thanks for your answer :)

anartist's avatar

strong emphasis whisper “link”

Keysha's avatar

@anartist Take it from his wife, his eyes can be dreamy, but can be very, very creepy, too. They are so light, that in the correct lighting they are almost white. Up close, when he is in a good mood (of various kinds) they are hypnotizing almost.

Arisztid's avatar

@TheOnlyException With a higher genetic diversity in a given population, the recessive genes are going to be much more prevalent, higher propensity to pass on recessives are not required.

@Keysha :)

lilikoi's avatar

@Arisztid Thank you. That’s exactly what I was trying to say.

It is about probability – nothing makes them pass it on. It is just more likely to happen when you have more recessive genes present. I don’t think it gets an deeper than that!

anartist's avatar

@Keysha Fascinating . . . :-)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@Arisztid AH! THAT MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE NOW. thank you :)

Arisztid's avatar

@lilikoi and @TheOnlyException Most welcome :)

@anartist I am quite happy to have had the genetics lotto give them to me. :)

PacificToast's avatar

I myself am half-Pakistani, and have such eyes as you have mentioned. That area in the Mid-East is mostly nomadic, so people would have scattered about, and where people are, there are genetics. I think the pale skin tone you speak of is simply a genetic thing, ‘cos on my mother’s side there are both very pale, and very dark, and in between skin tones. Also, the British colonized India, so I’m thinking maybe they could have intermingled and ahem, reproduced.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@PacificToast thank you for your answer :) makes a lot of sense.

mattbrowne's avatar

The research is ongoing. Some researchers think eye-color variation came about as a side product of skin-color selection. Genes controlling eye and hair color may be closely linked to those controlling skin color. So, when skin-color selection relaxed, eye and hair color also also were free to change. Genetic freedom to mutate gave rise to the many eye colors now found among European-descent peoples. See

http://www.wonderquest.com/eye-color-evolution.htm

marhen's avatar

Hi

My fam is from the northern part of Pakistan. almost all the men in my family has green/yellow-ish eyes. I think its genetic.

aeryfaery7's avatar

Because of it’s geographic location, modern day Pakistan has always been at the crossroads of many takeovers of different cultures from the Mongolians to the Persians, the British and Alexander the Great among several others. Over time there is bound to be quite a bit of genetic transferring. Also, as an Indo-Iranian peoples, Pakistanis are “Aryans” especially those in the northern areas, which lends to the idea that they would be fairer like the Iranian peoples themselves (also Aryans) People have a misconception that being Aryan means to be Anglo, or Blond with Blue eyes…this is just false.

Pakistani people are very diverse, some are blonde, some are red-heads, some have blue or green or gold eyes etc. It depends, there are also very very dark Pakistanis. You also have to realize that there was genetic transfer between the tribes that live in Modern day Pakistan and India, I mean, they were the same ‘country’ a mere 70 years ago. There’s just a lot of variation, many battles and campaigns.

The Pashtun tribes, like the Yussef-Zai, or peoples in Baluchistan and Chitral, the Swat Valley and Waziristan can be quite a bit more fair because they are mountain people. Have you noticed that the ‘desert’ people in America tend to be darker than the ‘mountain’ people? Same concept, different environments sure, but where it’s colder and the foods are different, people adapt and become different physically for environmental and evolutionary reasons. There’s more to it but there’s very little written about it.

Also, considering that the Khyber pass was practically the only main way for the Silk Road to travel through, there were people coming in from China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Persia, and after a while, Italy and other Eastern European countries…I seriously doubt all those men were celibate during their travels which took years instead of days like now.

On another note: To a previous poster, Pakistan is not the Middle East. It is a South Asian country, you don’t ‘technically’ get into the Middle East until you hit Iraq and Iran, that has Afghanistan between them. U.S. Geological Survey if you don’t believe me. Just because they are Muslim in their religion doesn’t lump them with being Middle Easterners…if that were true you’d have to include Indonesia into the ‘Middle East” Just thought I’d educate someone on that.

-Historian and Geographer

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_rida's avatar

I have always wondered the same.Both my father’s and mother’s side have light skin and greenish blue eyes. My mom has greenish blue eyes and pale skin and dark brown hair. My brothers also have the same. I myself have dark hair and dark eyes. Both of my parents families are from northern Pakistan. It is quite weird because there is no mixed race marriages in any of the families. Genetics is fascinating!

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