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So that’s where our red hair comes from

For years Irish people, along with the Scots, have been associated with red hair, fair skin and freckles. Celtic people have carried the ginger gene for centuries but it has always been unclear as to where it actually originated.

A study carried out in Spain on the gene evolution of 1,000 people offers a new theory.

Where does red hair come from? Image Ireland Calling

V60L allele, the ginger gene, first arrived 50,000 years ago when people left the hot climate of Africa to move north into Europe. The shorter days and lower temperatures meant they spent less time in the sun and so absorbed less vitamin D.

To counter this lack of nutrition the human body developed. People with paler skin and red hair evolved as they are capable of soaking up vitamin D at a faster rate than those with darker tones.

There was a downside to the paler complexion though, with a higher risk of melanoma, a deadly form of cancer.

Doctor Saioa Lopez, who carried out the study told the Daily Mail: “As a consequence of depigmentation there has been a collateral damage consequence to health.”

One in ten people in Ireland have red hair and this study revealed that the gene remains dominant throughout southern Europe.

The fact that the study took place in Spain raises another interesting point. Many believe the first people to settle in Ireland came from Galicia in northern Spain, which is possibly where the world Gaelic came from.

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43 comments

  1. On my fathers side of the family my grandmother had dark aburn red hair. I have the same color of dark aburn hair. I had a son and his hair is brown. If he ever had a girl she probably would have the dark aburn red.
    I did my DNA and I have English, Irish, Nordic blood. I’m proud of my heritage!!! Go Gingers

  2. That might explain the pale skin but how does that affect the hair to make it red?
    Hair is dead. It doesn’t help create vitamin d.

  3. There are African albinos with red and blonde hair. To this day, they’re killed and maimed by cannibals and witch doctors for their ‘magical’ parts. This may be why light-skinned people fled Africa, possibly crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to Europe.

  4. If you want people to read your article, than use a reader-friendly font. Would you but a book with gray print on white pages????

  5. nothing ever made me happier than them announcing “It’s a girl” when my first daughter was born but the icing on the cake was “SHE HAS RED HAIR!”.

  6. My grandmother on my mother’s side was a red head. A cousin on my dads. I had a beautiful, red haired, blue eyed boy. About one in ten runs in my family.

  7. In order to have a child with red hair both parents must carry the recessive gene…they may not have red hair themselves…but if the mother and father carry the gene they can have a ginger.

  8. So why exactly do i have blond hair and a red beard. from North Western European genes I have them checked Nothing from anywhere but Europe only less than 2% english.

  9. My brother Melvin Lamphiear Had Red Hair My Daughter Kathlean Liggett has red hair it runs in my family what is the next generation to have red hair ?

  10. My last name means “red hair.” I got the name from my black-haired father but my red hair from my mother–kind of a neat coincidence.

  11. That’s “tow head”, unless you have toes in your hair, lol!

  12. Jolene Louviere Duchamp

    My Dad has red hair. Neither grandparent or great grandparents had red hair. We are mostly French, but had s great grandmother who was Spanish. 7 of 8 siblings have red hair. 9 of 10 have Blue eyes- 1 with green eyes. We are all colorblind.

  13. I am a redhead and so is my daughter. My great grandmother was from Ireland. I can trace her line in 1500’s back to Spain

  14. If you have Irish ancestry you are part Irish.

  15. I am one of 14 children.. 3 of us got the red hair.neither of my parents were red.my grandmother had it..now my daughter have it.my grandniece and grandnephew have it as my cousins children have it!!I am Irish!

  16. You are so right Mary Harris!!! And those spots we have that they call freckles….Angel kisses!

  17. You are so right Mary Harris!!! And those spots we have that they call freckles….Angel kisses!

  18. Mary Harris,I like your ❗ better than the rest. I’m a redhead,I have hazel eyes. I have 5siblings,two are redheads &three are blond to brown. My dad had the red hair.Mom had black hair.Mom had three redheads &three toe heads as dad called them. I can’t be in the sun too long cause I servery burn. I have 6 boys,4 have blond hair&2 have red hair. I’ve always been interested in the Celtics history,I know why.

  19. I’m not Irish but my mama aunt and uncle and grandmother all have red hair. my uncle has blue eyes my aunt hazel abd my mama brown. Two of my aunt’s kids have red hair. My brother has red in his facial hair but we didn’t get red hair. Red hair definitely runs in my family. I was told I have Irish ancestry though.

  20. My ancestors on my mothers side are Scottish, immigrated to Ireland before coming yo the States. She had red hair growing up, I have red hair, my sister was a blond. I have 1 child his father had red hair, so of course he is a ginger. My daughter and youngest son’s father had jet black hair, my daughter is more a dirty blonde and my youngest has jet black hair, except for his beard, it grows in ginger, just like your dad. I always thought that it was very unique, glad to hear someone else has had that unique combination.

  21. Just because your parents were English doesn’t mean you have no Celtic blood. Also celts moved freely between France(Brittany etc) and the British Isles England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales so it’s possible your forebears just settled in England. We won’t hold it against you 😉

  22. England was celt before the Saxons ,danes or normans made an appearance

  23. Both of my parents were redheads and had four redheaded daughters. I never understood it, I would never have dated a redhead because of the risk of having kids like us, freckles and pale skin. Then my father decided to get an Irish setter for our family…. we were a matching set! The Irish do have a sense of humor.

  24. Both my parents have red hair in their family, but they are brown and blonde. I have fair skin, red hair, freckles. My sister tans and has brown hair. My daughter has brown with red hi-lites.
    My sisters grand daughter is like me.

  25. Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian as far as I know. Mom was born in Ireland, black hair and brown eyes, Dad black hair and grey/blue eyes, I have brown hair and eyes, lots of red highlights in the sun, reddish hair at birth, and I don’t burn I tan.

  26. I am the only one in my immediate family that has red hair!

  27. My late Mum was Irish,but her paternal side of the family was only so from 1850s,all of my ‘Irish’ cousins and my siblings are either brunettes or blondes,with blue eyes,brown or green.I think I am the only one,who when younger,had blonde and red natural highlights

  28. Elaine Darby Cerna

    I know that my maternal grandfather had a grandmother from Ireland. He himself had dark hair, but several of his brothers had red hair. As for me and my 7 siblings, my sister had bright red hair, I had a shiny auburn color and the rest had a variety of blonde, light brown, brown and dark hair. My red haired, heavily freckled sister married a middle Eastern man, having 3 children without red hair. All of my other siblings married and had children, but none with red hair. I married a dark haired and dark skinned man from Central America. We had 6 children, 4 with different hues of very rich copper hair. Most of them are fair. They didn’t get my freckles. Although I have one redhead with tan skin!! I had one daughter with dark hair and skin like her father, but even she and my other child that weren’t redheads had highlights of red in their hair. So they are redheads with brown eyes. But what we found out is that you need redhead genes coming from both parents to get redhead children. My husband had a red beard in his younger days and his dad said they had redheads in his family. I’m very proud of my red haired children. It’s unique!

  29. Both my parents were English, my mother was a flaming ginger and my father a blond. I was a fiery ginger, so were do my genes come from if there is no Celtic blood?

  30. My ancestors are all Irish, from North and south. I am the only member of the family to have red hair. Although the rest of the family are quite dark skinned with black hair, my late father had jet black hair with a ginger beard.

  31. EXACTLY!!! Thank you! 🙂

  32. My mother and father both had the blackest hair going and tanned beautifully, my sister and i out of 5 kids are the only two to have red hair her 3 children have red hair and my 3 children have brown ??

  33. My mother is Korean and my dad is Swedish-Italian-English…I have red hair and freckles and was known growing up as the “red-headed Korean girl” and I love it!! My son is also a red head, but doesn’t have freckles. Gotta love genetics!

  34. my mum had red hair, my son has red hair and at least one of my grandsons has red hair. my hair has always been blonde and i have one sister w dark brown hair. but all of us have the blue eyes. i have irish on both sides of my family, i have been told we have our own crest in Ireland

  35. Interesting post. In Scotland red is very common, along with brown hair, our mixture of migrating people’s predomiately Celtic, along with Germanic and Siberians. Siberians, came via the dogger bank land, now under sea, between Scotland and Norway, the Lapplanders of Finland are also related to the Scots, and Highland cattle are an off shoot from the Yak!

  36. My Mum is Irish from Belfast. My sister and I are both Gingers?Blue eyes and white skin and all the rest of the Irish family is Dark hair. I love being a ginger!

  37. Did a genology search and my ginger came over from Spain in the 1500’s

  38. We have Irish ancestors married every part of my family! I have two daughters with red hair, fair skin and freckles!

  39. Janet Gasparetti

    my grandparents arrive 1890′ they were Lee andPierce then their son married my mother who was a o’keefe We have red in the family and I am allergic to the sun . When I got my d a test I was really surprised I was 97% Irish and. 3% Irish British I was veryhappy

  40. I guess I have been lacking in History lesson’s or something turned around in my brain.. I thought the Vikings invaded Ireland and took the women for their own and that is where the red hair comes from..guess it doesn’t really matter but I had it wrong. My 4 children I have blue eyes and dark hair as I did and ironically all my siblings 11 of us ( all Irish on Moms side) have the same blue eyes & dark hair. Well its white hair now. Interesting study of this just now I have read.

  41. Red hair comes from Neanderthals.

  42. My hair changes with lots of sunshine. Sometimes it’s red and blonde.

  43. Rubbish! When God created man He made a few who were more beautiful than the rest and He gave them golden hair because they were His golden children. 😉

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