IT’S the age-old question – why do men have ginger beards when their hair doesn’t have a single strand of red in it?
Thankfully the universal mystery has finally been answered by a scientist who explained it is all down to your genes.
Getty – Contributor Many men have flecks of red in their beard, even if they aren’t crimson-locked, and there is a scientific reason for that
What makes someone ginger?
Scientist Petra Haak-Bloem from Erfocentrum, a Dutch organisation that promotes genetics, explained the reason to online magazine Motherboard.
She said your hair colour is down to a gene called MC1R on chromosome 16.
The gene is used to make a protein called melanocortin 1 which converts pheolmelanine (the red pigment) into eumelanine (the black pigment).
However, sometimes a mutation can occur in either one or two strands of the gene.
Petra explains: “When someone inherits two mutated versions of the MC1R-gene (one from each parent), less pheomelanine is converted into eumelanine.
“The [pheomelanine] accumulates in the pigment cells and the person ends up with red hair and fair skin.”
Getty – Contributor If a person has just one strand of the MC1R gene, ginger hair will be seen in sporadic places on the body
Why do non-red haired men get ginger beards?
If a person has just one of the mutated genes, red hair can appear in sporadic places around the body as a result.
This can be on the beard, eyebrows and pubic region, according to IFLScience.com.
So next time you see a non-ginger with a reddish beard, you can explain to them why.
How many people are ginger in the world?
If you have ginger hair you are certainly in a minority, as less than two per cent of the world’s population (approximately 140 million people) are redhead.
Scotland has the highest percentage of natural redheads (13 per cent) and Ireland is second (10 per cent).
Both parents must carry the mutated MC1R gene to produce a full redhead offspring.
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