Sunday, September 1, 2013

More than 20 million people in Britain and Ireland have the genes that can cause red hair

The most red-headed part of Britain and Ireland is the South-East of Scotland with Edinburgh as a red-hotspot where 40% carry one of the three common red hair gene variants. Just over 34% of the population of parts of the north of England are carriers, making Yorkshire and Humberside as red-headed as Ireland. There are 3 different variants of the MC1R gene, which causes red hair. Those with 151-Cysteine-red have a 70,000 year old variant that probably arose in West Asia; those with 160-Tryptophan-red are descendants of someone who probably also lived in West Asia 70,000 years ago; and 294-Histidine-reds belong to a much younger group who come from a European who lived about 30,000 years ago. Approximately 6% of Scots have red hair, or about 300,000 people. Of the English, about 4% - around 2.1 million people - are red heads.

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