Education Blog

What Will My Baby Look Like? Science Provides Some Clues

September 16, 2021

Expectant parents have many questions during pregnancy. Is the baby healthy? What should we call them? Are we really going to need a $1,300 crib or these baby safety products? Perhaps the most interesting question to ask is: How will my baby look? Although genetics can seem like the most ancient lottery in the world and is full of surprises, modern science allows parents to make educated guesses about certain traits such as height and eye color. While newborns might look strongly like one parent, they may also look like the other — this is not due to the milkman but rather complex polygenic traits that have been passed down.

“The purpose of humankind is survival,” states Mandy KatzJaffe, Ph.D. She is also the scientific and genetics director for CCRM Fertility. We don’t know what the reshuffling of a baby’s body will look like so we can’t predict exactly how it will look.

This “reshuffling”, to put it mildly, is complex. Each partner has 46 chromosomes. 23 of these will be randomly divided into individual eggs and sperm cells. Each sperm and egg bring their own unique combination of 23 chromosomes to create a single cell with 46. The cell splits and eventually forms a fetus. The same process happens every time a couple has a child, but the chromosomes are shuffled in an entirely different way. This process is called recombination by scientists.

What Color Hair Will My Child Have?

Hair color is determined by how much melanin your hair contains. Most people have two copies of the MC1R gene. Scientists have found 20 more genes that can influence hair color. In some cases, the MC1R gene may become deactivated. This can lead to strawberry blond, auburn or red hair. This can lead to very red hair in babies if both copies of the gene are disabled.

While darker hair colors are more likely to be associated with dominant alleles, and recessive shades tend to have lighter or redder hues, a brunette mother may still have a child with brunette hair. There are many genes involved. If both parents have brown hair there is a good chance that their child will, too. If both parents have recessive genes for different hair colors and they match up during recombination, it is anyone’s guess.

What Color Eyes Will It Have?

There is a high chance that their offspring will have blue eyes if both parents and both sets or grandparents have it. The geneticists believed that physical traits such as eye color were single-gene characteristics. This meant that if one parent has brown eyes, and the other has blue eyes, then their children would have brown eyes. The dominant gene for brown eyes is recessive. It is more complicated than that. There are eight genes that determine one’s eye colour. Although the OCA2 gene controls nearly three quarters of the blue-brown spectrum, there is evidence that other genes may be able to override it in some cases.

What Will My Baby Look Like?

Dimples, freckles, hairlines and hairlines are all predictable characteristics. However, they also come with the same caveats and limitations as hair color and eye color. Freckles are thought to be mostly controlled by the MC1R genetic. The environment can have an effect on freckle size and number. Second- and third-degree relatives are believed to pass on baldness, which is 25 percent and 12.5 percent respectively of their genes. But this is not the only explanation. Curly hair can be caused by many genes, but they vary depending on where you live.

It’s not difficult to predict the appearance of a baby using genetics. Just remember that children are always full of surprises, even while they’re still in the womb. Katz-Jaffe can understand why parents are curious about what their baby will look, but it is important not to place too much trust in these guesses and to be concerned about the outcome. As their children grow and develop, so does their genetic inheritance.