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Why do non-redheads sometimes have ginger beards?

Why do non-redheads sometimes have ginger beards?

Have you ever wondered how men who have brown, black or blonde hair, suddenly grow a ginger beard? I certainly have.

As always, we turn to science and experts for any information regarding that pesky MC1R gene.

According to Petra Haak-Bloem, a specialist at Erfocentrum, the Dutch national information centre for genetics: “The genes that determine hair colour are so-called ‘incomplete dominant hereditary traits.’ This means that there isn’t one single gene that’s dominant over the rest, but all genes influence each other.”

So, once again it is down to the recessive melanocortin 1 receptor, as suspected.

You know how redheads need both parents to carry the MC1R gene for a 100% chance of having a full head of red hair? Well, if just one parent carries the gene, then the chances of having a ginger beard is highly likely! This redhead reproduction table may help you…

ParentsNatural redheadNon-redhead with geneNon-redhead, no gene
Natural redhead100%50%0% but will carry the gene
Non-redhead with gene50%25%0% but will carry the gene
Non-redhead, no gene0% but will carry the gene0% but will carry the gene0%

Having just one strain of the MC1R gene can lead to red hair in unexpected places. So boys, if one of your parents carry the gene, don’t be surprised if some orange fuzz starts to appear on your face.



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Just one parent carrying the redheaded gene is also more common, so it makes sense to why we see so many ginger beards on non-redheads.

Are you still trying to figure out where you got your slight gingerness from or are you wondering if you might grow a ginger beard? All of your questions can be answered by looking back through your family tree to see if there is a redhead in the ranks, then go from there. As you can see from the above table, if you carry the ginger gene it’s highly likely you have the potential for a ginger beard.

“It’s entirely possible that one distant ancestor had a hair colour that suddenly appears again through a certain combination of genes—and that can be quite unexpected for parents,” Haak-Bloem added.

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