Jamie's Blog

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Redheads going extinct

Fewer than 2% of the worlds 6.5 billion people carry the gene for red hair. Because of this, scientists think that red hair may be extinct by 2060.

Red hair is a result of a mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago. The mutation is recessive. So red hair is rare unless both of the parents have the gene. Due to increased globalization, it is becoming less likely that a person carrying the gene will partner with another who also carries the gene.

The only place where the gene is still prevalent is in Scotland. it's estimated that 40% of Scots carry the gene, with about 13% actually having red hair. So if you are a redhead, like those in the Redhead Wendys protest, you have a much better chance of passing that gene down if you move to Scotland.

Via Neatorama: Redheads Face Extinction

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  • I know several of these "redheads" and a redhaired colleague of mine has a husband with similar red hair. They will sustain the next generation. At least their children will live in 2060 (and I think many others in this world) so I can't believe why they should be extinct (!) after 53 years from today.

    What is the difference between to "carry" and to "have" a gene? (40 vs. 13 %)

    By Anonymous Alexander, at August 23, 2007 1:53 PM  

  • Should have said "have red hair" rather than "have the gene"

    Fixed it in the post.

    As for extinct, I believe they are thinking that people will no longer be being born with red hair. Not that there will no longer be any red haired people. Also, it is just an estimate, rather than a solid number.

    By Blogger Jamie Barrows, at August 23, 2007 1:59 PM  

  • Hmmm this seems to me as a really short time. 60 years = ~ 2 generations. That would mean that from nowaday not one redhead would have a relationship with another. And I think just in those regions where more of them are - there will be still several generations.

    Probably the assumption was made for regions with only few redheads (as Asia, central Africa or so).

    By Anonymous Alexander, at August 23, 2007 2:09 PM  

  • You are probably right.

    By Blogger Jamie Barrows, at August 23, 2007 2:11 PM  

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