LOS ANGELES - It’s a mystery bigger than the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, and the Chupacabra combined. Why is it that some people with non-red hair can grow red beards?
Experts say it’s because of a little luck and a mutation in a gene called MC1R. It’s the same gene that is responsible for people having red hair.
Redheads carry two mutated MC1R genes passed down from their parents, while someone with let’s say brown hair and a red beard, has only one mutated MC1R gene.
Petra Haak-Bloem, a specialist at the Dutch national information center for genetics, told Vice “People inherit hair color not only from their parents, but also from their grandparents and earlier ancestors. So it’s entirely possible that one distant ancestor had a hair color that suddenly appears again.”
There is no dominant gene that influences hair color, so it is every hair gene for itself.
Only two percent of the population are full redheads. It isn’t as rare to be calico with a ginger beard, but it’s still pretty cool.
It’s also a great way to pay homage to an ancestor that you may or may not have met, but still carry with you.