With redheads making up approximately 1–2% of the world’s population, how likely is it that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby boy will have Harry’s ginger hair?
English bookmakers Paddy Power gave odds of 23/10 on a redhead, earlier this year. That meant that if you bet $1 on a ginger baby you’d get $3.30 back. A brunette baby had odds of 4/9 which meant your $1 would get you $1.44 back. Betting has now closed.
It had previously been thought that the inheritance of a single recessive gene controlled whether or not a person would inherit red hair. However, eight genes linked to red hair have been discovered by Scottish researchers in the largest genetic study of hair color to date. In all, DNA tests were performed on almost 350,000 people who took part in the UK Biobank study.
The hypothesis had been that red hair was controlled by a single gene, MC1R. Previous studies have shown that people with red hair inherit two versions of this gene, one from each biological parent. Prince Harry clearly has these two genes. However, not everyone carrying these two MC1R versions will automatically become a redhead, which means that other genes had to be involved.
By comparing the redheads to people with brown or black hair, the scientists from Edinburgh University identified the eight previously-unknown genetic differences. Some of these genes were discovered to work by controlling when MC1R is switched on or off.
Commenting on the research, published in Nature Communications, Professor Albert Tenesa, of the University’s Roslin Institute, said: “We are very pleased that this work has unraveled most of the genetic variation contributing to differences in hair color among people”.
In Europe, redheads are more common among the northern and western fringes. The Celtic nations of Ireland and Scotland have much higher levels. Red hair is much less common in people of African descent, which might reduce Meghan’s chances of having the MC1R gene.
The small chance that this royal baby might have red hair has excited some English redheads. Author Jacky Colliss Harvey, who wrote Red: A History of the Redhead, told USA Today she and fellow redheads were quietly hoping for a ginger prince or princess.
“All of us redheads in the UK are wildly excited about the possibility of a red-haired baby – fingers crossed”, she said.
Harvey also revealed how the arrival of another ginger royal could prove significant to the growing community of redheads around the world.
“There are huge redhead festivals in different parts of the world”, she said. “We see ourselves as promoting difference as being a good thing.”
Archie will be seventh in line to the throne, making it very unlikely that he will grow up to be the British monarch. The current heir is Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year-old son. He is followed by his son William and William’s three young children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Next comes Prince Harry and then the new baby. Information on our DNA testing services can be found on AlphaBiolabs. Alternatively, please contact AlphaBiolabs via Live Chat or call now at 727-325-2902.