Elizabeth Taylor's lovely lashes a 'genetic mutation'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Elizabeth Taylor's lovely lashes a 'genetic mutation'

Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her violet-coloured eyes, which were perfectly framed by thick, luscious eyelashes. But not many people know that what appeared to be the work of several generous coats of mascara was actually a genetic mutation that caused the Hollywood legend to be born with a double row of eyelashes.

Elizabeth's parents were said to be horrified when a doctor told them their baby had a "mutation", but quickly reconsidered their dismay when the physician explained how it would affect the little girl.

In pictures: Elizabeth Taylor's amazing life

"Well, now that doesn't sound so terrible at all," Elizabeth's mother, Sara Sothern, said to herself when she was told about her daughter's disorder, journalist J Randy Taraborrelli wrote in his biography of the film star, Elizabeth.

Current medical research suggests Elizabeth's extra eyelashes were caused by a mutation at the FOXC2 gene. The mutation causes what is medically known as distichiasis, a rare disorder that causes an "accessory row" of eyelashes.

While it seems like a sexy affliction, distichiasis can actually cause a series of problems, including eye irritation, watery eyes and an eventual reduction in vision.

Your say: Do you know anyone who has unusual eyelashes?

Video: Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

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