Red alert for gingers at risk of ‘extinction’

Garbage star Shirley Manson is a famous redhead. Picture: Jane Barlow

Garbage star Shirley Manson is a famous redhead. Picture: Jane Barlow

12
Have your say

REDHEADS are in danger of becoming extinct as climate change improves the Scottish weather, experts have claimed.

The ginger gene is believed to be an evolutionary response to cloudy skies north of the Border and allows inhabitants to absorb larger amounts of Vitamin D.

However, if predictions of rising temperatures prove correct, the gene may slowly die out, claim researchers at ScotlandsDNA.

Edinburgh has the highest proportion of redheads in Scotland, with around 40 per cent of the population enjoying the ginger gene. Famous gingers include pop star Shirley Manson and former Doctor Who actress turned US sitcom star Karen Gillan.

Today, proud Capital carrot-tops have united to decry the news, including Celebrity Big Brother Hijack winner John Loughton, who said bright haired people were more “exotic”.

“When you’re a kid you are going to get bullied because of your hair but when you get older it becomes a massive asset for the simple fact that if you are at a networking event you stand out,” he said.

“I think for the species of human beings to lose their redheads would be a shame – it makes you different in a world where everyone else is the same.”

Shawn Hitchins, who led a “ginger pride” march in Edinburgh last year, joked: “It seems like people are coming up with new ways to eradicate the gingers.

“I think it is wonderful that people think gingers are going to be the only ones impacted by global warming.

“I understand that less cloud cover would lead to more melanoma, but it would be wonderful if they put more energy into finding ways to save us rather than how redheads are going to disappear.”

Last year it was revealed that red-headed individuals are 100 times more susceptible to developing melanoma, a skin cancer which claims more than 2,000 lives a year in the UK.

A particular gene mutation that colours red hair and gives pale skin leaved DNA in skin cells more prone to be damaged by sunlight.

Dr Alistair Moffat, managing director of ScotlandsDNA, said: “If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.”

Another leading scientist, who asked not to be named, said: “I think the gene is slowly dying out.

“Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.

“It would take many hundreds of years for this to happen.”

Only one or two per cent of the world’s population have red hair, but in Scotland this figure rises to around 13 per cent – with 650,000 people believed to have ginger hair.