02 September 2013
The city of Edinburgh has been named as the hotspot of a new map of redheads in Britain, in a new survey which also shows that Scotland has a higher percentage of redheads than Ireland. ...
The new research, carried out by BritainsDNA, is based on the results of a year-long project to discover how red-headed Britain and Ireland are, and to produce the first ever red-headed map of Britain's regions. The survey was based on recent ancestral data, the origins of the grandparents of 2,343 people and the sample consisted of people with all four grandparents from either England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
Among the key findings are:
- Almost a third of the population of Britain and Ireland carry a red-haired gene
The most red-headed part of Britain and Ireland is the South-East of Scotland with Edinburgh asa red-hotspot
- Scotland as whole has a higher percentage of red-heads than Ireland, 36.5% as against 34.7%
- Around 6% of Scots have red hair (about 300,000) and around 4% of English people are red-heads, around 2.1 million people
Alistair Moffat, managing director of BritainsDNA, said: 'No-one needs a DNA test to tell if they have red hair. All they need is a mirror. What BritainsDNA set out to discover was a hidden story, the story of the secret carriers.
'Since red hair is recessive, children born with red hair need both parents to be carriers of one of the red hair gene variants, but millions of people in Britain and Ireland have no idea that they are carriers. The project reveals just how red headed a nation we really are.
'If both parents are carriers of a red hair gene variant, there is a 25 per cent change their offspring will have red hair.'
Despite the findings, there is still no conclusive evidence as to why Britain and Ireland have so many red-heads and carriers of the red-head gene. According to the BritainsDNA website, one hypothesis is linked to vitamin D. 'Red hair and lighter skin tone are related and in an archipelago where the sun shines less than in continental Europe, we can absorb more because of that.'
Another theory relates to migration: 'The Northern Isles, the Hebrides and the Atlantic coastlands saw significant Viking incursions and settlement after c800AD, and in the south east of Britain, the Anglo-Saxons settled in numbers after c400AD. These in-migrations may have significantly diluted the red-hair variants present in the indigenous populations before those dates.
To view the red-headed regional map, visit the BritainsDNA project website.