Friday, April 14, 2017

Only 2% of the World's Population has Natural Red Hair

The red in redheads' hair is thought to put them at increased risk of the dangerous skin cancer melanoma.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I have always found red hair to be pretty, it is amazing to see how small of a percent individuals will express the red hair trait. In another article I read it expressed that within years that red hair will become extinct and with these results of small percentile I can see why.