Do you have red hair?

“Did you know that populations with a higher proportion of redheads have a higher prevalence of MS?”


Approximately 1% to 2% of the human population has red hair. Red hair is more frequent (between 2% and 6% of the population) in northern and western Europeans, and their descendants, and at lower frequencies throughout other parts of the world. These areas are high prevalence areas for MS.

Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the protein called MC1R. Red hair is also associated with fair skin color, lighter eye colors, freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.

Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza (1976) hypothesized that lighter skin pigmentation prevents rickets in colder latitudes by encouraging higher levels of Vitamin D production and also allows the individual to retain heat better than someone with darker skin. However, in 2000, Harding and colleagues, concluded that red hair was not the result of positive selection and instead proposed that it occurs because of a lack of negative selection.

“The link between red hair and MS, is probably a simple association. Evolution selected red hair and fair skin to prevent rickets by increasing the skin’s capacity to synthesis vitamin D. Later on in the history of man when the behaviour of the northerly populations with a high proportion of red heads changed (less sun, less fish, sunblock, make-up, in door activity, smoking) it resulted in them becoming susceptible to developing MS.”
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2 thoughts on “Do you have red hair?”

  1. I had quite ginger hair as a kid
    now late 40’s it’s gone dark brown
    so, 10 years later from this post does this apply do you think?
    “Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the protein called MC1R. ” and does it have anything to do with MS?

    1. Hi Ali,

      Are you a female? And did you have kids?

      If the answer is true to both questions, the yes. Hair will get darker after giving birth..
      Why? I was told by a geneticist that this is a way of telling other males that afemale is a mother, and has a partner.
      It is also observed in blondes, brunettes, black haired females (not as shiny)
      In addition , multiple species show this characteristic..

      By the same token, gray hair is a sign that seniority has arrived.

      It makes a lot of sense, but I dont know if it is 100% accurate.

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