Red Hair Gene

There has always been a great deal of speculation about how redheads get their natural red hair. Some people would say both of your parents have to have red hair while others would say it’s completely random. It was just less than two decades ago when we found out where red hair came from.

In 1995, Jonathan Rees discovered that the melanocortin 1 receptor(MC1R) on the 16th pair of chromosomes is responsible for red hair.

University of Edinburgh coat of arms

In order for a child to have red hair, both parents must carry the MC1R gene for red hair. As long as the child gets a copy from both parents, they will have red hair. Contrary to popular belief, the hair color of the parents does not matter unless they both have red hair. This does not mean that both parents need red hair in order for their offspring to have it. They just need the correct gene.

If neither parent has red hair but both have the correct gene, the child will have red hair. If one parent has red hair and the other doesn’t, the child will have red hair. As long as both parents carry the gene, the child will be a redhead!

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