Only 2% of the World's Population has Natural Red Hair
In the article "Genetics: the Common Thread of Redheads, St. Patrick, Vampires and Culture" Ken Williams Jr., D.O., discusses how rare the gene mutation that causes red hair is. The gene, MC1R, is a recessive trait and is associated with fair skin and red, auburn and strawberry colored hair. The mutation of this gene blocks production of eumelanin which is responsible for dark brown and black pigments. Since this is blocked another type of melanin is increased, pheomelanin. This is responsible for red and blond pigments resulting in the fair skin, red hair and freckles. The mutated MC1R gene can be found all around the world but mainly in Scotland and Ireland. Since it is a rare occurrence it is estimated only 2% of the world's population is a true redhead. I found this interesting because 2% is not a high statistic and it is surprising how few people have the mutated gene around the world.