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Genetic mutation may have contributed to Liz Taylor's death

The late actress’s remarkable eyes were actually down to a genetic mutation – she had two lines of eyelashes.

Image: Ron Frehm/AP

ACTRESS ELIZABETH TAYLOR was always well known for her alluring violet eyes – but it turns out that her looks were the result of a genetic mutation which could, possibly, have contributed to her death.

Slate’s Browbeat blog has found a passage in a Taylor biography written by J Randy Tarborelli, who recalls a quote from Taylor’s mother discussing the moments after her daughter’s birth.

As Mammy Taylor recalled, she and Elizabeth’s father were invited into a doctor’s office just after the birth, to be informed that their newborn daughter had a genetic mutation of some sort.

Well, that sounded just awful… a mutation. But, when he explained that her eyes had double rows of eyelashes, I thought, well, now, that doesn’t sound so terrible at all.

Taylor, aside from having famously violet eyes, had two lines of eyelashes – a sign taken by many as an obvious sign that Taylor was destined to spend her life on the big screen.

But this mutation may have had a slightly less fortuitous: a mutation of FOXC2 – the mutation which most commonly leads to double rows of eyelashes – commonly leads to lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome.

This syndrome, in turn, can cause cardiac problems – problems with which Taylor was very familiar, having previously undergone heart surgery before dying last week from congestive heart failure.

It also turns out that her eyes couldn’t possibly have been violet, unless she was an albino, which she quite apparently wasn’t. They were actually a deep blue, which just happened to appear more purple under studio lighting.

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Gavan Reilly

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