Everyone is born with similar and different genetics. Take hair color, for example, some people are born with brown hair and black hair, and others are born with red hair. Sometimes genetics provide people with certain advantages, and according to scientific research, redheads have genetic advantages that others do not.
According to BBC News, about 2% of the world’s population has red hair. In basic figures, that is 140 million people with red hair. That may seem like a lot, but Worldmeters, which tracks the world’s population, states that the current population in the world is 7.6 billion people. The first piece of research of this claim came way before your parents were even born. Dr. Augustin Galopin was a prolific French writer, and in his book Le Parfum de la Femme, which was written in 1886, he said he detected that redheaded women have a particular aroma.
Jacky Colliss Harvey, who is a writer and editor of her book “A History of the Redhead and My Life As A Redhead,” touched base on Dr. Galopin’s findings in her book. The Telegraphdid a piece on her and they mentioned that she explained that all humans have a microscopic film on their skin, which is called skin mantle. She adds that redheads’ skin is more acidic because of their genes, which can give them their own type of smell. Obviously, more research is needed to back up these claims, but it is something to think about.
Another author who specializes in the redhead world is Erin La Rosa. She wrote the book “Inside the Secret Society of Red.” The New York Post reports that La Rosa touches base on the fact that redheads are able to handle pain more efficiently because they possess the MC1R gene. The MC1R gene, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, is a gene that provides instructions for making the protein called melanocortin 1 receptor. This receptor plays an important role in normal pigmentation. Jeffrey Mogil, a McGill University psychology professor, explains that scientists tested the effects of pentazocine on male and female humans who had several variations of the MC1R gene which caused different hair colors and skin types, as reported in Science Daily.
Pentazocine is a type of painkiller, and results showed that pentazocine did not have an effect on men, but it did cause a heightened response for redheaded, fair-skinned women. This study suggests that the MCR1 may only modulate a specific pain pathway for redheaded women.
In 2005, the University of Louisville did research and discovered that the cold can also cause the MC1R gene to overactivate. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that the melanocortin 1 receptor is also active in other cells which include cells involved in the body’s immune and inflammatory response. So, the research done at Louisville University claims that when the MKC1R gene is overactivated, it can make the body more sensitive to thermal extremes.
As I mentioned earlier, there is still a lot more research that needs to be conducted. But from what has been gathered so far, it’s not wrong to say that evidence does suggest that the MG1R gene that redheads contain does provide them with certain genetic advantages compared to those who do not have it.