What do Nicole Kidman, William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus and Queen Elizabeth the First have in common? Their red hair.
But recently, scientists have warned that redheads are turning increasingly rare and in just one century there will be no natural red haired human on the street. National Geographic magazine has reported that less than 2 % of the world's population has natural red hair, the result of a mutation emerged only in the original Indo-European stock thousands of years ago and the most common now in northern Europe.
Global mixing, which increases the availability of possible partners, has decreased the chances of redheads meeting and further producing redheaded children.
If only one parent is red-haired, there are some chances to produce redheaded children, if the partner possesses at least a gene for blond hair (which is recessive in the case of the redhair gene), but two redheads have a much higher possibility to have ginger-haired offspring.
The highest concentration of the red-hair gene is encountered in Scotland: about 40 % of the Scots carry the gene (this means the other gene is for brown/black hair, being dominant to the red-hair gene) and 13 % actually have red hair.
Some say the deadline for redheads is as early as 2060, but others explain that the gene can be hidden for generations till combining in the right formula for delivering redheaded children.
In the ancient times, this gene could have had beneficial effect of increasing the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D from weak sunlight in an Ice Age clime, but today's carriers are more exposed to skin cancer and present a higher sensitivity to heat and cold-related pain.
For the natural blond people, scientists are more generous: they predict that 200 years will pass until their almost complete disappearance. They said the last blond will be born in Finland by 2200 ...