• Fri, Jan 30 2009

Would you pay $119 to test for red hair gene?

abaphotos275428-142753-04-julianne-moore-redhead Red hair is among the rarest of hair colors, with only 1% of the population having that natural hair.

I personally think red hair makes heads turn. Check out these natural red-heads: Julianne Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Ferguson, Marcia Cross and of course, Prince Harry (and great grannie Queen Elizabeth I).

Auburn, ginger, bright orange, carrot-top:  they are all the same red hair, and most would be sharing the same gene.

Some variants of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene are strongly associated with red hair. The gene codes for a receptor that is expressed on pigment cells in the skin (melanocytes). This receptor responds to a hormone that stimutats the production of the dark pigment eumelanin. So, if you have a variant of the MC1R gene that turns off the receptor, the pigment eumelanin will not be made and you will have red hair and fair skin.

What do you get if you have red hair? Aside from stunning looks –

  1. fair skin
  2. poor ability to tan (major risk for skin cancer !! )
  3. more freckles
  4. probably Celtic (Irish/ Scottish) ancestors
  5. (updated) sensitivity to pain

So now, a company called MyRedHairGene.com (Alpha Biolaboratory, Inc) has a genetic test that will show you if you carry that red hair gene, or if you will pass that gene on to your kids. One test for the red hair gene costs $119; two samples cost $214.

Read Dr. Lei’s interview to find out the science behind the test – Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R

 

Image:Newscom

Share This Post:
  • A’Llyn

    Wow. That’s interesting. But I already know I have a red hair gene, so my question is, can they ensure that it will be expressed?

    They should talk to me when they can.

  • Grace Ibay

    A’Llyn, if you have the gene and you have red hair, then yes it’s already expressed in you.
    For the red hair gene to be expressed in or inherited by children, both parents must have the gene.

  • http://www.qms-us.com QMS

    I’ll not spend too much money for that it’s such a wasteful.. I’d rather go shopping.

  • Matthew

    I think that having a test to find out, if someone has the red hair gene is a good thing. Being that I’m the only red head in my family if would be nice to see if my partner has the red hair gene.

  • http://www.casapalmera.com Eating Disorder Treatment

    $119 seems cheap for the gene, itself, but then what do you do with it? It could cost thousands of dollars to actually put it to any use. What about that?

  • brandi

    thats interesting, but i have red hair and TAN skin, with some freckles. Irish and spanish descent. So what would that mean? I’ve searched all over the internet and haven’t been able to find anything about it, or whether there is still a high risk for skin cancer…

    my brother and mother have red hair and pale skin, I got my fathers skin tone.

    • Aminabai

      Your tan skin is a throw back to Al Andalus (Muslim Spain) giving you some Arabian ancestors. What makes red heads more likely to get cancer is their light colored skin. I have a cousin who is Pakistani who is a natural red head with blue green eyes but she is a pale tan Pakistani (so is her mother) and I have a friend who’s Indo-Guyanese and she’s a beautiful medium golden tan. She tans very easily. The easier you tan the less likely melanoma is the easier you burn the more likely.

  • Stephanie

    I would like to know if I am a carrier as my husband has red hair, and I’d very much like it if one of our children had red hair like his. I’d love to see his trait in our children. I was interested in purchasing the test to find out if I am indeed a carrier. This way, we would have a 50% chance of having a baby with red hair. If I am not a carrier, none of our children will have red hair. That’s how you “use” the test. If I find out I’m not a carrier, I won’t be trying like hell to have babies until I get a redhead! haha Seriously though, I think if I found out I was a carrier, I’d probably try at least 3 times before giving up. If not, I’ll probably stick with 2 children. :)