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Gingers in danger of extinction in Scotland because of climate change?

7 July 2014, 10:40 pm EDT
Red head people may go extinct in the next few hundred years. Around 13 percent of the total Scottish population are gingers.  ( Bob Jagendorf )

Red heads, or gingers, are in danger of extinction in the British Isles due to changes in climate.

Gingers are not very common and reports suggest that only 1 or 2 percent of the total world population have red hair. Most of the gingers are found in Ireland, Scotland and North of England. Around 650,000 people in Scotland, which accounts to 13 percent of the total population, are said to be gingers.

Scientists believe that gingers are on the verge of extinction due to changes in the climate. Scientists indicate that the gene, which causes red hair in an individual, is an evolutionary response to the cloudy skies found in places such as Scotland. With the climatic changes, the skies over some regions of the British Isles, including Scotland, are predicted to be less cloudy.

"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," says Dr. Alistair Moffat, managing director of Galashiels-based Scotlands DNA.

Dr. Moffat added that if it becomes more or less cloudy then the climatic change will affect the gene responsible for the growth of red hair in individuals. More sunshine and less cloudy skies will result in lesser people carrying the gene.

Some scientists believe that the gene is dying and the number of gingers will reduce in the future. However, it can take hundreds of year before gingers are totally extinct.

A recent study revealed that around 40 percent of the total Scottish population carry the gene for both fair skin and red hair skin. Scientists also say that if both parents are gingers then there is a 25 percent chance that their child will also be a red head.

Scientists also believe that non-red head people may also have a child who is a ginger as one or both the parents may carry the gene.

Many famous people including the members of the Royal Family such as Queen Elizabeth I and Prince Harry, who is fourth in line to the British throne, are natural gingers. British singer Geri Halliwell, member of the girl group Spice Girls, also has red hair.

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