Ever wonder why redheads make up less than 2% of the population? Do you wonder why you have red hair but maybe your sister or brother does not? This is perfectly natural and explainable by genetics. The redhead gene is actually a recessive genetic trait. Here are more details:
What’s this gene all about?
Most redheads have a gene mutation called MC1R. This type of gene must be carried by both parents in order for a child to potentially be born with red hair. Lots of people carry the gene but don’t have red hair themselves. This is often why we see red hair skipping a generation or even multiple generations.
People can have three possible combinations of the MC1R gene. They can have two non-red versions, two red versions, or one of each.
It is pretty obvious that having two non-red versions means you won’t have red hair. And that having two red versions means you will have red hair. But what if you have one version of each?
This is where recessive comes in. Not all versions of genes are created equal — some versions are “weaker” than other ones.
The gene can also be carried dormantly by someone who has no features of a redhead at all. This is why we see redheads from all over the world of different cultures and ethnicities.
Will my child have red hair?
Even if both parents carry the gene, or one parent is even a redhead, if there is a more dominant trait, like brown hair, the child may not end up with red hair. Read: The Big Question: Will My Child Have Red Hair?
How about someone who has a red beard but black/brown hair?
While it is more common for women to have red hair than men, there are lots of men who carry the gene and actually only show signs of it in their facial hair.
Red hair is special and unique and the recessiveness of the gene is the whole reason there aren’t that many of us in the world. But, redheads are not going extinct! Read more here + Rock it like a Redhead!
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