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article imageNational Geographic says red-heads set for extinction

By Chris V. Thangham     Aug 23, 2007 in Health
Genetic scientists warn that redheads are a dying breed; soon they will become extinct in the next 100 years. National Geographic magazine reports that less than two percent of the world’s population has the natural red hair.
The future doesn’t look bright for those with ginger locks, according to the National Geographic article.
Red hair was created by a genetic mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago. The article reports that the gene had the beneficial effect of increasing the body’s ability to cope with sunlight; it helped make vitamin D from sunlight. But now because of worldwide interactions, today’s carriers are more prone to skin cancer and are more sensitive to heat and cold-related pain.
Because of the smaller percentage of red-heads present in the population, it has reduced the chances considerably for them to get red-head partners, so their offspring may or may not be a red-head. But that red-head can produce a baby from a single red-headed parent; the chances rise when both the parents have ginger hair, however.
[In related news: World's largest sperm bank turns down redheads due to low demand]
Some experts warn those with red hair could be gone as early 2060, but others say the gene can be dormant in the reproductive system for generations before returning.
It is too early to predict redhead extinction; more research and analysis needs to be done if that is the case. For more about red hair check the Wikipedia article.
More about Redheads, Set, Extinction, red head, Ginger
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