08/07/2014 06:05 BST | Updated 08/07/2014 07:59 BST

Is Climate Change Killing Off Redheads? Pale Skin Could Die Out As Weather Gets Hotter

Fans of Karen Gillan, Lily Cole, Damian Lewis and Julianne Moore - we have bad news.

Ginger people could die out if climate change causes hotter weather, scientists have warned.

The gene that causes red hair and paler skin thrives in cloudy climates is thought to be an evolutionary response to climates where there is less sunlight.

Dr Alistair Moffat, managing director of ScotlandsDNA, said the gene would be affected if climate change causes sunnier weather in Scotland.

Sorry Karen Gillan

"If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes, there would be fewer people carrying the gene," he said.

"I think the reason for light skin and red hair is that we do not get enough sun and we have to get all the Vitamin D we can.

"If the climate is changing and it is to become more cloudy or less cloudy then this will affect the gene.

"If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes, there would be fewer people carrying the gene."


Another scientist, who did not wish to be named due to the theoretical nature of the work, told ScotlandNow: "I think the regressive gene is slowly dying out. Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.

"It would take many hundreds of years for this to happen. Red hair and blue eyes are not adapted to a warm climate.

"It is just a theory but the recessive gene may likely be lost. The recessive gene could be in danger."

Globally, around two per cent of the world’s population has red hair but in Scotland the figure is about 13 per cent.


Last year, more than a hundred redheads have taken part in the UK's first Ginger Pride march in Scotland.

A parade led by Canadian comic Shawn Hitchins wound through Edinburgh city centre to demonstrate against ''gingerism'' - described as prejudice or discrimination against people with red hair.

In a few centuries, there might be no one left to go on the marches...