Scientists believe the gene that causes red hair could die out if temperatures continue to Rise according to genetic scientists Redheads are becoming rarer and could be extinct in 100 years’ time.
Polar bears and Emperor penguins aren’t the only species under threat due to climate change.
Scientists believe the gene that causes red hair is an evolutionary response to cloudy skies and allows inhabitants to get as much Vitamin D as possible.
But if predictions of rising temperatures and blazing sunshine across the British Isles turn out to be correct, flaming red heads could cease to exist within centuries.
While only 1% to 2% of the world’s population are ginger, in the north of the UK, where the weather tends to be more gloomy, this number is much higher.
In Scotland 650,000 (about 13% of the population) have red hair and, according to a study carried out last year, 40% of those living in Edinburgh are thought to carry the red hair/blue eye gene.
In the North and West of the UK, 29% of the population are believed to have the gene.
Red hair is caused by a mutation in the MC1R gene. It’s also a recessive trait, so it takes both parents passing on a mutated version of the MC1R gene to produce a redheaded child. Because it’s a recessive trait, red hair can easily skip a generation. It can then reappear after skipping one or more generations if both parents, no matter their hair color, carry the red hair gene.
“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 more cloudy 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.”
Another leading scientist, who asked not to be named because of the theoretical nature of the work, said: “I think the regressive gene is slowly dying out. Red hair and blue eyes are not adapted to a warm climate.
“It is just a theory but the recessive gene may likely be lost. The recessive gene could be in danger.”