• single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP);
  • eye color;
  • OCA2;
  • HERC2;
  • Japanese;
  • population data;
  • genotyping


Human eye color is a polymorphic phenotype influenced by multiple genes. It has recently been reported that three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within intron 1 of the OCA2 gene (rs7495174, rs4778241, rs4778138) and two SNPs in intron 86 (rs12913832) and the 3′ UTR region (rs1129038) of the HERC2 gene—located in the upstream of the OCA2 locus —have a high statistical association with human eye color. The present study is the first to examine in detail the genotype and haplotype frequencies for these five SNPs in an Asian (Japanese) population (n = 523) comprising solely brown-eyed individuals. Comparison of the genotype and haplotype distributions in Japanese with those in African and European subjects revealed significant differences between Japanese and other populations. Analysis of haplotypes consisting of four SNPs at the HERC2-OCA2 locus (rs12913832/rs7495174/rs4778241/rs4778138) showed that the most frequent haplotype in the Japanese population is A-GAG (0.568), while the frequency of this haplotype is rather low in the European population, even in the brown-eyed group (0.167). The haplotype distribution in the Japanese population was significantly different from that in the brown-eyed European group (FST = 0.18915). Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.