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Thread: Redheads: (MC1R) gene on human pigmentation

  1. #11
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    Post Re: The future looks black for redheads

    I have this website in my links file...thought I would share it


    The future looks black for redheads
    by Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

    AFTER centuries of jokes and cruel remarks, redheads may have the last laugh. Natural selection will turn those with ginger hair into an exotic and desirable rarity in the next 100 years.

    Scientists are warning that racial mingling will reduce the number of people with red hair, consigning the likes of Nicole Kidman, Chris Evans and Charlie Dimmock to history. Blondes are also likely to disappear — although they will linger for slightly longer because there are more of them, according to researchers.

    NI_MPU('middle');The reason, they say, is that people of different races are mixing and inter-marrying at a rate never seen before because of globalisation and migration. Natural blondes and redheads will be prized as never before.

    Such striking hair colours are already becoming exceptional when seen as part of the global population, said Dr Desmond Tobin, who researches hair cell biology at Bradford University.

    “As the amount of migration, inter-marriage and mixing increases we will see them all but disappear,” he explained.

    He was speaking at a conference — organised by the Oxford Hair Foundation, a research centre — which also heard that although about a third of British women sport blonde hair, most get their colour straight from a bottle. “Only about 3% are naturally blonde,” said Tobin.

    The proportion of redheads is even smaller at about 1%-2% — except in Ireland and Scotland where it is estimated at up to 8%.

    The proportions of both hair colours are already thought to have declined, particularly over the past 50 years.

    However, Nicky Clarke, a hair stylist whose clients include red-headed Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and blonde Denise van Outen, said natural blondes and redheads inspired thousands of his customers to seek similar colours for their own hair. “It would be sad to lose that diversity,” he said.

    Scientists see such changes as evolution at work — but others see the loss of redheads and blondes as a step backwards.

    Quite why humans evolved red or blonde hair is considered one of the mysteries of human evolution. Although humans probably evolved in Africa 1m-2m years ago, red and blonde hair appeared only once humans had settled in Europe — possibly as recently as 20,000 years ago.

    The genetics of red and blonde hair are also complex. For example, one of the main genes for hair colour has 40 variants — but only about six cause red hair.

    People must inherit two of these six genes — one from each parent — to have red hair.The chances of this are always small — which is why there are so few redheads. The best chance occurs in stable rural communities with a common ancestry — where people carrying the genes are likely to meet and have children.

    This is probably how redheads took hold in Scotland and blondes became common in Scandinavia.

    However, such communities are now rare and face influxes of newcomers — reducing the chance that any two parents will each have the genes needed to produce red or blonde hair in their children. In cities the chances are far smaller.

    Jonathan Rees, the professor of dermatology at Edinburgh University who discovered the gene for red hair, said: “Blondeness appears to follow similar patterns of inheritance.”

    In the past, redheads and blondes in concentrated communities have thrived. Some researchers suggest that many ancient societies, including the Romans, prized redheads and blondes as mates — meaning that they could choose the fittest partners.

    However, while blondeness is still prized in western Europe and America, the global trend appears to be moving in a different direction. Earlier this month Newsweek magazine featured the Canadian-born model Saira Mohan on its cover, declaring her coffee-coloured skin and dark hair to be the new “global face” of beauty. Mohan, the magazine reported, owed her fusion of western and eastern beauty to an ancestry that could be traced back to India, Ireland and France. Tobin said: “The genes for red and blonde hair could spread in sparsely populated areas like ancient Scandinavia or Britain but now they are simply being swamped.”

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    Post Re: Redheads

    In Australia most people who are redhaired are of the orange coloured variety, extremely intense with lots of freckles and sometimes frizzy unruly hair. I don't think redhair will ever die out. I am as Med as can be as far as where I and my ancestors came from and there is redhair in my family. It skips generations and crops up totally unexpectedly eg Paternal grandad was redhaired, my parents, siblings (7) brown to dark haired, my children (4) all redheaded of the orange variety. Judging from my childrens' mothers' families there is absolutely no redhair there just mousey to ash blondes like typical Anglo Australians.

    Redhair is not a blessing in Australia. The sunlight is very intense. My children get sunburnt in winter here and I spend a lot of money on sunblocks, zinc cream and hats. Redheads are nicknamed "blue" in Australia; don't know why. I am white skinned myself without the pink blush. I just become bluer when I am cold. There is another problem redheads have and that is thin skin showing all the veins through the skin. That ain't very becoming!

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    Post Re: Redheads

    Proud red head.

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    Post Re: Redheads

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigrun Christianson
    Red hair is a blessing no matter where one lives, unless you want them to look just like everyone else. I hope you don't pass on this redhead contempt to your kids. Tans are gross and peasant-like.

    Gawd bless me and my blue veins.
    I have to agree with Graeme on this one Sigrun, red heads get burnt to a crisp out here. It may be fine to have red hair in Europe or the U.S. but in Australia they fry. You can't help but have some tan hear It's 100F in the shade.

    And yes God bless you and your blue veins...and Nicole Kidman and.....
    Politics is where we send the mediocre people so they can feel vaguely consequential and when they say ''His Excellency or The Honourable Minister", They really mean "This Prick here"

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    Post Re: Redheads

    100 degrees F, that is nothing in Australia. My home town is one of the coldest in the country in winter and my children still get sunburnt. It is not heat, it is the UV photons in sunlight. I do not tan at all, just turn red, blister and flake. I have had basal cell skin cancer three times and I assure you getting them removed is not funny. Sunblock has to be reapplied quite regularly to be beneficial. And redheads look very unattractive after living under the Australian sun for 30+ years.

    If you want to feel special having redhair that is O.K, but remember there is a cost involved having that phenotype. My grandfather died due to effects of melanoma and he was careful in the sun.

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    Post Re: Redheads

    I noticed that as well. My mother seem to have lose some of the red and have instead more yellow blonde left. That happens with those who have strawberry blonde hair.

    Those with auburn hair are only partially red, also genotypically.

    It is a matter of your genotype what kind of red hair that you have.

    Red hair is a loss of function mutations of the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene and the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R). The default is black-brown, but such mutations make the melanocyte produce red-yellow.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sigrun Christianson
    Anyway, I have also noticed that redheads with my coloration seem to get lighter with age when most people seem to get darker.

    I love the 'redheads need more pain killers' theory.. haha... more drugs for me!

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    Exclamation Redheads: (MC1R) gene on human pigmentation

    Pleiotropic effects of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene on human pigmentation.

    Flanagan N, Healy E, Ray A, Philips S, Todd C, Jackson IJ, Birch-Machin MA, Rees JL.

    Department of Dermatology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK.

    Variants of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene are common in individuals with red hair and fair skin, but the relative contribution to these pigmentary traits in heterozygotes, homozygotes and compound heterozygotes for variants at this locus from the multiple alleles present in Caucasian populations is unclear. We have investigated 174 individuals from 11 large kindreds with a preponderance of red hair and an additional 99 unrelated redheads, for MC1R variants and have confirmed that red hair is usually inherited as a recessive characteristic with the R151C, R160W, D294H, R142H, 86insA and 537insC alleles at this locus. The V60L variant, which is common in the population may act as a partially penetrant recessive allele. These individuals plus 167 randomly ascertained Caucasians demonstrate that heterozygotes for two alleles, R151C and 537insC, have a significantly elevated risk of red hair. The shade of red hair frequently differs in heterozygotes from that in homozygotes/compound heterozygotes and there is also evidence for a heterozygote effect on beard hair colour, skin type and freckling. The data provide evidence for a dosage effect of MC1R variants on hair as well as skin colour.

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