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| Last Updated:22/04/2020

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Red hair DNA disappearing due to climate change

Times of India, Delhi, 9th July 2014 Scientists working with human DNA have predicted that the red hair gene - synonymous to UK and Scotland - will soon disappear due to climate change. Alistair Moffat of Scotlands DNA has said that a gene mutation that yields red hair and pale skin which is more sensitive to light leaves DNA in skill cells more prone to sun damage and cancer. Only 1-2% of the world's population have red hair though in Scotland 13% of the population are ginger and 40% are thought to carry the gene. Rising temperatures will cause it to regress. Dr Moffat said "We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and in the North of England is adaption to the climate. I think the reason for light skin and red hair is that we do not get enough sun and we have to get all the Vitamin D we can. If the climate is changing and it is to become cloudier or less cloudy then this will affect the gene. If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes there would be fewer people carrying the gene." Scotlands DNA recently announced the result of a year-long project to discover how red-headed Britain and Ireland are. They have also published the first ever map of the red-headed nations and regions. It is based on recent ancestral data, the origins of the grandparents of 2,343 people. "Our sample consisted of people with all four grandparents from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. While some will have a few deeper ancestors from elsewhere it is fair to assume that most of the genetic variants carried by someone with all four grandparents from Scotland are Scottish including the red-head variants in the MC1R gene," Moffat said. Since red hair is recessive, children born with red hair need both parents to be carriers of one of the red hair gene variants.