How do people get red hair?
The gene for red hair was discovered in 1995 by Jonathan Rees. It is the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), on the 16th pair of chromosomes. (23 pairs in total)
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 is a redhead but both have the correct gene, the child will be a redhead. If one parent is a redhead and the other is not, the child will have red hair as long as both parents have the gene, and so on.
How many people have red hair?
It is estimated that 1-2% of the entire population has red hair, according to wikipedia. Redheads are also more common in particular geographical locations, such as north/west Europe and the British Isles. Approximately 13% of Scotland’s population has red hair and 40% carry the gene for it.
Are any of the myths I hear about redheads true?
There are a lot of myths and misconception involving redheads. One of the most popular is the belief that redheads will turn into vampires when they die. That idea came from Greek Mythology. Others include ideas related to luck, history, ethnicity, and traits.