Could Redheads Become Extinct?

by Mariel Reed

Everyone seems to be going red these days. Thanks to the likes of Jessica Chastain, Julianne Moore and Christina Hendricks, those fiery shades have become so coveted, non-redheads like Rachel McAdams, Blake Lively and Sienna Miller have followed suit by dyeing their strands varying hues of red.

But what if natural redheads no longer existed and we all had to stick to bottled shades?

The redhead gene is thought to have evolved due to a lack of sunlight and vitamin D in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England many thousands of years ago. Only 2 per cent of the world’s population has naturally red hair, but in Scotland, where sun is sparse and clouds are plentiful, that figure rises up to 13 per cent.

Geneticists have theorised that we might start seeing that number fall for one pretty scary reason: Climate change.

With global warming comes higher temperatures and more sun, creating the potential for the redhead gene to dwindle far below this. Dr. Alistair Moffat from genetic testing company, ScotlandsDNA told The Daily Record:

‘We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate. We do not get enough sun and have to get all the vitamin D we can. If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.’

This news follows a 2007 hoax when the claim that the rehead gene would become 'totally extinct' circulated. The redhead gene is recessive, which means it has the potential to skip a few generations before resurfacing in future DNA. Even if you and your partner don't have red hair, but you both carry the gene, it could be passed down to your children, or grandchildren. Meaning the gene probably won’t die out completely, but we could see a dramatic decrease in people born with auburn hair if the climate keeps getting warmer.

So, red hair is not only the hottest colour, it might become the most exclusive too. Long live red hair… 

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