Home / Lifestyle / Ginger / ‘Ginger gene’ could keep you looking young

‘Ginger gene’ could keep you looking young

Scientists believe the ‘ginger gene’ could be key to a study on why some people keep their youthful appearance as they get older.

Images of more than two and a half thousand faces were judged to assess how old people looked and then the DNA of those that appeared younger than they actually were was studied. All the evidence pointed to the MC1R gene – which is the gene responsible for skin pigmentation and hair colour.

'Ginger gene' could keep you looking young

The study was carried out by the Erasmus University Medical Centre. Dr Davin Gunn was part of the team involved. He said: “You meet two people you haven’t seen for 10 years, and you happen to notice one doesn’t look a day older than you remember and then the other person you think ‘Wow what happened to them?’.”

The gene MC1R makes melanin for the body to protect the skin from UV radiation from the sun. However, MC1R comes in many different forms, one of which causes red hair. This gene has been nicknamed the ‘ginger gene’.

The scientists found that people that contained this ginger gene were perceived to be on average two years younger than they actually were.

Prof Manfred Kayser, from Erasmus, said: “The exciting part is we actually found the gene. It is exciting because this is a well-known phenomenon that so far cannot be explained – why do some people look so much younger?”

The scientists investigated further to see if the ginger gene might alter skin damage from the sun more efficiently, and so result in a more youthful appearance. However, they couldn’t find any evidence to support this theory.

Dr Gunn hopes in the future they will be able to create a product to make people appear younger. He said: “This is the first genetic study ever of perceived age, ideally we’d want something to boost this gene for everybody.”

Join our community

Ginger Hair Ginger and awesome
Vikings or Celts – who is responsible for the red hair gene?
So that’s where our red hair comes from
Psychology student reveals the true damage of “red hair bullying”
Conan O’Brien spoofs red hair campaign

Are redheads to be victims of climate change?
Irish girl commits suicide over ‘red hair’ bullying
Irish actress bullied for being ginger
Annual Red Head convention heading to Cork

Redheads not facing extinction – they’re here to stay
Prince Harry invited to Irish Red Head Convention
Hilarious song by Tim Minchin fights back for gingers everywhere
Hundreds celebrate their ginger hair at 2015 Redhead Convention

Why do many dark or fair haired men have ginger beards?
Will Irishman’s appearance stop him winning the X Factor?
Ginger people read out the cruellest of ginger jokes
Red heads more likely to be successful

MCR1 – magazine for red heads a big hit around the world
Couples can test DNA to see if they could have ginger children
Exhibition of redheads at Cork Airport
‘Ginger gene’ could keep you looking young

About Patrick Kehoe

Check Also

Marriage stresses women out more than raising kids

Marriage stresses women out more than raising kids

Keeping their marriage on track is a greater source of stress for women than raising …

3 comments

  1. My husband & I had three children that were red heads, they must have gotten the ginger gene from my Irish mother in law who was a red head. I was very interested in this article.

  2. My husband & I had three children that were red heads, they must have gotten the ginger gene from my Irish mother in law who was a red head. I was very interested in this article.

  3. My husband & I had three children that were red heads, they must have gotten the ginger gene from my Irish mother in law who was a red head. I was very interested in this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.