Could you be a secret redhead?

Could you be a secret redhead?

I'm a natural brunette and, as far as I know, am not likely to turn ginger or have children with red hair in the future.

However, new research from Edinburgh University claims that four in ten Britons could be carrying ginger genes, despite not having red hair.

While this doesn't mean these peoples' hair could suddenly change colour overnight, it could expose them to a range of increased health risks.

This includes heightened sensitivity to pain and a greater chance of conditions such as Tourette's syndrome and Parkinson's disease, the study highlighted.

The groundbreaking research, entitled BritainsDNA, has found that many people have these recessive genes, which may exhibit themselves through health rather than hair colour.

Apparently, in England six per cent of people have red hair, compared with 13 per cent of Scottish people. Meanwhile, in Europe this figure drops to only four per cent.

People with Scottish or northern England ancestry are far more likely to be secret redheads, according to the project.

This is due to cloudy weather, as redheads have evolved pale skin to absorb more solar radiation, to help their bodies produce sufficient vitamin D from the sparse available sunlight.

Red hair appears in people with two copies of a gene that affects the way the protein MC1R behaves, however, there are three common variants, meaning some people's hair colour is not expressed and others can lead to men having dark hair but growing ginger beards.

While the scientific research is relatively new, there is a growing body examining whether baby weight, sensitivity to pain and melanoma are all linked to redhead genes.

This might all seem a little odd to read, but there's clearly a lot we don't know about the way our hair colour could be related to our health.

I just wonder if I'm a secret redhead too?

What do you make of this research?

Posted by Mandy Jones

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