Lifestyle

Will my baby inherit my gorgeous red hair? Everything to know about the rarest hair colour in the world

It’s been widely reported that redheads may be on the decline, but now experts believe the ginger gene can actually skip generations and make unexpected resurgences.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like red hair is going to disappear any time soon. But here are some awesome indicators to find out if your little one is going to inherit the family flamed hair or not.

Are you a redhead? Did your baby get your beautiful fiery locks?

 

The science behind your baby inheriting your red hair

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered eight genes linked to red hairs. They looked at DNA from almost 350,000 people.

Red hair is controlled by a single gene called MC1R and a redhead needs to inherit two versions of this gene, one from mum and one from dad, in order to get those beautiful red tresses.

Experts say that almost everyone with red hair has two copies of MC1R, because it is recessive. Many people carry the gene and pass it on.

Red hair is the rarest natural hair colour in the world, with just 1-2% of all humans on earth having ginger hair. However, in Ireland and Scotland around 20% of the population are redheads.

 

What causes red hair?

Two pigments are responsible for human colouring, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin colours hair and skin brown and is responsible for tanning. While pheomelanin is present in the lips, nipples and genitals and also colours skin pink, red or orange.

We all have small amounts of pheomelanin in our hair, but it is mostly diluted by the higher concentrations of eumelanin. Those with less eumelanin are more likely to have striking red hair.

This is why red hair appears in so many different shades such as ginger, auburn, chestnut and strawberry blonde.

For example, a redhead and a brunette are most likely to have a child with auburn hair. And a redhead and a blonde are more likely to have a child that is strawberry blond.

Interestingly, two parents with auburn or strawberry blonde only have a 25% chance of having a fiery locks.

If you were hoping to pass on your gorgeous ginger locks and your baby doesn’t inherit them, fear not. Thankfully, they can always dye their hair when they’re an adult.

Redheads have some pretty awesome genetic superpowers