Life Health & Wellbeing

Sunday 15 December 2019

Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn

Redheads may become extinct, according to new research
Redheads may become extinct, according to new research
Famous redhead Ed Sheeran in an endangered species according to the study
Famous redhead Ed Sheeran delights the crowd in New York

Christopher Hooton

The red hair gene could be on the way out as it is thought to be a response to cloudy weather in Scotland, something which the country could see less and less of.

A gene mutation that yields red hair and pale skin which is more sensitive to light leaves DNA in skill cells more prone to sun damage and cancer, and if predictions of rising temperatures are correct evolution might cause it to regress.

Dr Alistair Moffat, managing director of Galashiels-based ScotlandsDNA, said: "We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and in the North of England is adaption to the climate.

"I think the reason for light skin and red hair is that we do not get enough sun and we have to get all the Vitamin D we can.

"If the climate is changing and it is to become more cloudy or less cloudy then this will affect the gene.

"If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.

Group photo
Group photo
The honourary award for a man "would settle for no less than a redheaded woman" went to a couple who had been married for over 30 years.
Beautiful Crosshaven in Co. Cork.
New King Jack Daly greets his 'subjects'.
Queen Sarah Mullins and King Jack Daly pose for photographers
Even the volunteers and photographers at the convention had red hair.
Queen Sarah
King Jack signs a carrot for a fan.
the King and Queen lead the 'Ginger Parade' around Crosshaven
John Edwards prepares for his haircut.
The village of Crosshaven at night.
Locals enjoy the atmosphere.
John's dyed hair, which won him the "Best wannabe ginger" crown.
The hair shaving begins.
John Edwards
John finds out the fate of his hair is to be put to auction.
John Edwards getting his hair cut for charity.
John Edwards before the auction.
The auction begins.
The winning bid is made, and it's a big one.
Winner of the auction Victoria Alexander with John Edwards
A fire-breathing show closed out the night's activities
A fire-breathing show closed out the night's activities
A fire-breathing show closed out the night's activities
A fire-breathing show closed out the night's activites

Another scientist, who did not wish to be named due to the theoretical nature of the work, told ScotlandNow: "I think the regressive gene is slowly dying out.

"Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.

"It would take many hundreds of years for this to happen."

"Red hair and blue eyes are not adapted to a warm climate."

"It is just a theory but the recessive gene may likely be lost. The recessive gene could be in danger."

Only 1-2% of the world's population have red hair, though in Scotland 13% of the population are ginger and 40% are thought to carry the gene.

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