Climate change could make redheads extinct within 100 years
REDHEADS are predicted to become the latest victim of climate change – with scientists claiming they could be extinct within 100 years.
The red hair gene, which gives the distinctive ginger or red hair colouring associated with both the Irish and the Scottish, is thought to be a response to cloudy weather found in both climates.
But with climate change bringing much more sun and rising temperatures to both countries, doctors believe the pale-skinned, freckled redhead may soon be a thing of the past.
Dr Alistair Moffat, of Galashiels-based ScotlandsDNA, 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.”
She added: “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.”
While less than two per cent of the worlds’ population has red hair, 10 per cent of people in Ireland are redheads.
But a whopping 46 per cent of people in Ireland are carriers of the red-head variants, according to ScotlandsDNA, an organisation focused on investigating the genetic origins of Scots.
In Scotland 13 per cent of the population, or 650,000 people, have red locks, while 40 per cent are thought to carry the gene.
Roughly 6 per cent of people in England are thought to have red hair.
However the red hair/blue eyes combination is becoming rarer, according to scientists.
“Red hair and blue eyes are not adapted to a warm climate,” said one researcher, who did not wish to be named.
“It is just a theory but the recessive gene may likely be lost. The recessive gene could be in danger,” he added.