Chromosomes and Red Hair
Through genes and chromosomes locked within the cells of our bodies, ALL living things (people, animals, plants) inherit characteristics or traits from their parents.
We carry 2 copies of each ‘gene’ (one from the mother and one from the father).
These complex genetic codes decide your height, hair color and type, eye color, and body traits that make you totally unique. No one else is exactly like you!
When the right combination of genetics occurs, the traits of red hair (freckles, fair skin, blue eyes, etc.) are unlocked and they show up!....sometimes a surprise for sure!
The field of GENETICS tries to understand, explain, and find out how this happens. And yes, genetics is very complicated....TOO complicated for me really....! I like things simple, SO...
Just know that the genes for red hair come from both parents, one from each parent. Even when both parents themselves do not have red hair, they can each be carriers for that gene and thus have
a child with red hair instead.
(This is called autosomal recessive inheritance.)
Those genetic codes for red hair and freckles are in the family line somewhere...you just never know when it will show up!!
One gene that has been identified to be associated with red hair traits (and fair skin and freckles) is the MC1R recessive gene (melanocortin-1 receptor). It has been found on chromosome 16.
Other genes have also been found that may be associated with red hair as well. It appears that the genetic codes for red hair and light skin appear interrelated.
-- LATEST BUZZ --
(1) Pain Sensitivity:
Studies in 2004 and 2005 led researchers to support the growing belief that redheads were more sensitive to pain and resistant to some anesthesia. A new report from July 2009 "Journal of American Dental Association" (JADA) mentions that redheads are sensitive to pain and may require more general anesthesia and local anesthesia, thus having bad experiences that may lead them to avoid dental care. The MC1R gene is believed to have a role in the pain sensitivity and anesthesia issues.
An article by Madison Park from CNN Health News dated July 31, 2009, citing the JADA study states:
"Researchers believe variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene play a role. This MC1R gene produces melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes their color.
While blond, brown and black-haired people produce melanin, those with red hair have a mutation of this receptor. It produces a different coloring called pheomelanin, which results in freckles, fair skin and ginger hair. About 5 percent of whites are estimated to have these characteristics. While the relationship between MC1R and pain sensitivity is not entirely understood, researchers have found MC1R receptors in the brain and some of them are known to influence pain sensitivity.
Non-redheads can also carry a variant of the MC1R gene. In this dental study that had 144 participants, about a quarter of the non-redheads had variants of the MC1R gene. These people also experienced heightened anxiety and avoided dental care compared with others who did not have the variant. There is no commercial test available for variations of the MC1R gene."
(2) Redheads becoming extinct?
This one has been circulating around for a while based on news agency reports from different sources. Apparently, not all geneticists agree on this one. Personally, I think there's nothing to worry about, as I believe God gave us red heads as a gift and our gorgeous gingers are here to stay!
(3) Does being a redhead affect athletic performance?
No...according to Daniel Sessler, professor of the Dept. of Outcomes Research at the Cleveland Clinic in an ESPN article 04/28/11. "There is nothing whatsoever in our work that would suggest that redheads cannot be star athletes, nor is there anything in the literature." Sessler and his team's 2009 study revealed redheads seem to be "less responsive to local anesthetics and therefore more sensitive to (and fearful of) dental pain." However, Sessler says this doesn't stretch to sports. "First, the effect is relatively small, and secondly, football players presumably are not in pain most of the time...And pain can be treated."
(4) Sperm bank, Cryos, turns down redheads
In Summer 2011, the world's largest sperm bank began turning down redheaded donors because there was too little demand for their sperm. Cryos's director, Ole Schou, said that there had been a surge in donations in recent years, allowing the facility to become much more picky about its donors. "There are too many redheads in relation to demand," he told told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. "I do not think you chose a redhead, unless the partner - for example, the sterile male - has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that's perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case." Mr Schou said the only reliable demand for sperm from redheaded donors from Ireland, where he said it sold "like hot cakes." Cryos’s stores have now reached their peak capacity of 70 litres of semen, and Mr Schou has a waiting list of 600 donors. He said sperm from donors with brown hair and brown eyes was particularly in demand, because of the bank’s large customer base in Spain, Italy and Greece. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews)
Chromosomes are rod-like structures within the nucleus of the cell. All human body cells (except sex cells, the egg and sperm) contain 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes for humans).
The sperm and egg cells have only 23 chromosomes each. After the egg and sperm cells unit to form the embryo, each cell and embryo then has 46 chromosomes (23 pairs).
Chromosomes contain regions called genes. There are several thousand genes, in an orderly sequence on each chromosome.
Each gene is then composed of a chemical called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The DNA sequence is like a series of recipes in code that is carried out of the nucleus to the rest of the cell and direct the activities of the cell.(Taken from The Language of Medicine, 4th Edition)
* * * * * * * * GLOSSARY OF TERMS * * * * * * * * * *
- Means ’white’
- A group of inherited disorders with a deficiency or absence of pigment in skin, hair, eyes due to an abnormality in production of melanin. Both copies of genes block melanin production.
- AUTOSOMAL RECESSIVE
- When you inherit 2 identical copies of the gene.
- Threadlike strands of DNA within the nucleus of the cell that contain ‘genes’ and pass along genetic traits by being copied. All human body cells (except sex cells, the egg and sperm) contain 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chrom. for humans) and thus have a complete set of instructions to build an entire new organism and its specific traits.
(Origin: G. "chroma" = color + G. "Soma" = body)
- Deoxyribonucleic acid. Each gene is made of this chemical. DNA is a huge molecule (macromolecule) that is so tightly packed that 6 feet of DNA is compressed into 1 few thousandth of an inch – stores and transmits genetic information from one generation to the next. This DNA code is like a series of recipes that is carried out of the nucleus to the rest of the cell and directs the activities of the cell.
- Completely masks another gene; one factor masks the presence of another.
- (Also called ‘alleles’) A fundamental snippet of information occupying a specific place or region on a chromosome strand that make up the building plans for physical traits (how you look, hair color, eye color, etc. ). Some traits are ‘dominant’ or ‘recessive’. There are thousands of genes, in an orderly sequence, on each chromosome. Each gene is composed of a chemical called DNA.
(Origin: G. "genos" = birth)
- The field of science that examines how traits are passed from one generation to the next.
(Origin = G. "genesis" = origin or production)
- Any of the dark brown to black pigments that occur in the hair, skin, retina. (forms are eumelanin, pheomelanin). Melanin is a dominant gene. Synonym: melanotic pigment.
(Origin: G. "melas" (melan-)= black)
- Means its traits are masked by dominant traits; exhibited only by someone with 2 identical genes. It’s a gene that is a secret key tucked away inside a genetic code.
Sources: Genetics for Dummies, the New Merrium-Webster Dictionary, Wikipedia, Stedmans Medical Dictionary, Albino Animals
Just a little WORD
No one is an ‘accident’...we're too complex for that!
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:13-16 NLT)
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God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30)
and loves you more than you know.....
(And I know it’s not an 'accident' that God gave me 2 redheads!)
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There's NO ONE on earth exactly like you!
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