How redheaded is Ireland? Where are there most redheads and most carriers of the red hair gene variants? And why is Ireland probably the most red-headed nation, per capita, so to speak, on Earth?
Katie Henderson, part of the team at IrelandsDNA will present a seminar at the Irish Redhead Convention to answer all your questions about redhead genetics and Ireland’s DNA new project focusing on the mysteries of red hair. The team will also present an informative exhibition in Camden Fort Meagher all weekend long. There will also be the opportunity for those who want to partake in the redhead DNA test sampling to do so.
Through this new DNA test, IrelandsDNA can tell who are carriers of the red hair variants. Those who actually have red hair only need to look in the mirror. Very many more carry a red-head gene variant but don’t know they have it and could pass it on to their children.
“We aim to discover this hidden story of the Redheaded Nation.”
Current statistics are incomplete and provisional but they indicate that between 2% and 6% of Northwestern Europeans have red hair compared with an average of only 0.6% in the world’s population as a whole. In Britain the numbers are startlingly higher. In Ireland it seems that around 13% have red hair, that is 650,000 people, but at least 30% are unknowing carriers – and this percentage may be much higher. At least 1.6 million Scots carry a red-head gene variant and most are unaware that they do. But the place where most carry the red-headed variants may well not be in Scotland.
In Ireland about 10% have red hair, but it appears that a staggering 46% are carriers of the red-head variants. For England, the estimate is 6% but this is highly provisional and there are no current figures available for the number of carriers. IrelandsDNA aims to investigate Irish red hair. But the largest red-headed population in the world is in the USA, where between 6 million and 18 million have it, and very many more carry the variants.
IrelandsDNA aims to establish exactly how many of our people carry the variants, and perhaps discover new and more numerous red-head variants. And we aim to celebrate Ireland as the world’s Red-Headed Nation
Last year, Katie graduated from the University of Stirling with a First Class Honours Degree in Biology, where she focused on population genetics. Currently, Katie works for IrelandsDNA as a Geneticist. Her main role in the company is to analyse the results of DNA samples sent to IrelandsDNA to determine each participant’s storygroup and subgroup, ensuring that the results are on the forefront of this rapidly developing field.
Outside of IrelandsDNA, Katie is in completion of a Masters of Research in Infection and Immunobiology at the University of Glasgow. Her current research looks at the restriction of a virus found in feline cell lines, with the aim of inhibiting viral production. Previous research includes a six month study on reptile behaviour in the Australian outback (sleeping next to redback spiders!), and studying the population genetics of yellow dung flies.