• Question: Why am I ginger?

    Asked by 10cookee to Alexis, Dr D, Jasmine, Mario on 27 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Mario Ruiz

      Mario Ruiz answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      The scientific explanation is: a mutation! But the mutation is not harmful at all, so don’t panic. It seems that the gene MC1R, a part of the DNA that keeps the genetic information for skin and hair colour, is different in gingers, so that’s why your hair is red, why you have more freckles than others and why your skin is a bit more pale too.

      Nothing to be ashamed of, really. It’s just Biology! And I actually like gingers! 🙂

    • Photo: Andrew Devitt

      Andrew Devitt answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      It’s amazing what your genes will do for you. Having genes that gives you red hair is great. It’s those genes that make you more likely to have a disease that are a real issue.

      Mario is right that this is all about genetics that affect the production of pigments. The interesting bit is that your parents don’t have to be ginger haired for you to be ginger haired. They can carry the gene for ginger hair without showing it.

      But then there’s another explanaiton….. bad weather! OK so this isn’t great science but if oyu live in Scotland and Ireland you’re more likely tohave ginger hair than in southern Europe. Gotta be the weather!…. maybe not. Check out this link:


    • Photo: Alexis Barr

      Alexis Barr answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      So Andrew and Mario have already answered the question. I have a great anecdote though. I have a friend with ginger hair who went to visit an orphanage in Vietnam. The children had never seen ginger hair before and so fell in love with her and couldn’t stop stroking her hair! So it seems in some countries – ginger hair is worshipped!