back to article Boffins uncover ginger gene in neanderthal DNA

The continuing analysis of samples of neanderthal DNA have revealed that some of them had ginger hair. Researchers from the University of Barcelona identified a mutation on the gene MC1R that, in modern humans, causes hair to tend to the titian, and skin to tend to the pale. All humans carry a version of MC1R, but the redhead …


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  1. stu

    At least! proof the ginger's are not even human !!!

    I always suspected it.. they are a different species (neanderthal)....

    The scientists havn't made that leap yet.. but it is only a matter of time.

    clearly us cromagnons were all tall, tanned skinned handsome blonds until a few dirty wee ginger neanderals raped our wimin and poluted our gene pool with their ginger filth.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    So that explains...

    .. Chris Evans.

  3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    IT Angle


    So they all died out cos they were a load of ginger mingers and therefore couldn't get laid?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Not again

    This is interesting because I remember it being big news around 2001 that some UK scientist had found genetic 'evidence' that ginger hair was a throwback to Neandethal man, and he speculated that somewhere in the past some chavvy human women had put out for neanderthals (behavioural studies in Croydon night clubs lend weight to this theory) and this polution of our gene pool, though greatly diluted by hundreds of subsequent generations of humans, has left one small legacy - gingers. You can imagine the delight of ginger people in schools and workplaces throughout the country at the time.

    Anyway, about a year later some other scientist came along and disprooved this theory, though it recieved considerably less media attention, presumably because journalists and playground bullies alike hate the truth coming in the way of a good story.

    And can we please have two more icons to choose from when we post - the Google 'G' with horns or with a halo. Just having Gates and Jobs is so last century, innit.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    bring on the jokes ..

    I just read this article and being ginger myself, i was quite pleased that there were none of the usual snipes about ginger hair.

    I know its all in good spirits @stu, but it gets a bit annoying when it never stops.. .i.e. i'm 29 and i have had ginger jokes aimed at me since i can i remember, so perhaps in your description of your Arian traits, you missed out that it makes you a nazi and a fascist!

    oh better put the joke icon cos then of course its not offensive anymore.

  6. Morely Dotes


    What else could one say?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Wow, still the morons persist...

    Well done stu and Matt Bryant, you've clearly demonstrated your inability to read. You missed the part "All humans carry a version of MC1R".

    So if ginger folk aren't human, explain how come humans carry the ginger gene, MC1R?

    If ginger people were "ginger mingers and therefore couldn't get laid", explain how the ginger gene, MC1R found itself into your worthless bodies?

    Its a shame your mothers got "laid", and ended up with you two.

    Seriously guys, if you've nothing constructive to say, spend some time educating yourselves.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Science" correspondent...?

    This article mentions, but fails to highlight, a very important point:

    "We found a variant of MC1R in Neanderthals which is NOT PRESENT in modern humans, but which causes an effect on the hair similar to that seen in modern redheads." (my emphasis)

    There is no more a link between the modern ginger gene and the neanderthal ginger gene than there is between the blue-eyed gene in dogs and the blue-eyed gene in humans.

    The Reg's slow descent into the depths of inaccuracy carries on apace though.

    From the article:

    "Researchers from the University of Barcelona identified a mutation on the gene MC1R that, in modern humans, causes hair to tend to the titian, and skin to tend to the pale. All humans carry a version of MC1R, but the redhead version is slightly different, the BBC reports."

    This genetic variant does not exist "in modern humans". It has been artificially introduced into tissue cell cultures in a lab.

    Your tag "Similar to modern humans" is sooooooooo misleading. It implies that the gene is similar, when it is not -- it is only the effect of the gene that's similar.


  9. Anonymous Coward

    re: bring on the jokes ..

    Aryan, not Arian.

    The Spelling Nazi.

  10. Sceptical Bastard

    Don't take the piss out of gingers...

    ... because they are tiresomely hyper-sensitive about it (see above). I know from first-hand experience - my son is ginger and has spent the last twenty-five years whingeing about it. If he starts on at me, I just shrug and tell him some fucker has to get the bad luck in life.

    "So that explains Chris Evans" Nah. Nothing explains such a sad apology for a sentient being (and he's a *real* minger as well as being a twat).

    In answer to Morely, one can say "Wales"

  11. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Don't take the piss out of gingers...

    Actually, I find it nearly impossible to say Wales.

  12. Chris G

    Aryans? Humans?

    Aryans originally were Indo european people who originated fromabout where Afghanistan is now, whereas arians are some racist crap that Hitler and some of his mates came up with.

    As far as `human´ is concerned there is a great deal of evidence to show that neanderthals existed previous to and at the same time as cro magnon man they are also undoubtedly human, as to whether or not they are another species is currently unknown. What makes a species is a group that mates and reproduces only with itself, there is evidence to suggest that neandertals (correct spelling) may have interbred with cromagnon and disappeared due to being diluted by a much more numerous type. Also Ginger pops up all over the planet and if you have a close look at your own hair you will almost certainly find the odd ginger hair lurking in there. Lastly, what is the definition of a modern civilized human? I want to know!

    PS Why does everybody hate Chris Evans? He's rich, Irritating, Insufferable, over impressed with himself and a perfect reason for not experimenting on animals , You could use him instead.

  13. Luther Blissett

    Bring out that Neanderthal

    Something odd going on here.

    >> Researchers from the University of Barcelona identified a mutation on the gene MC1R that, in modern humans, causes hair to tend to the titian, and skin to tend to the pale. All humans carry a version of MC1R, but the redhead version is slightly different, the BBC reports.

    >> Lead author Carles Lalueza-Fox, assistant professor in genetics at the University of Barcelona said: "We found a variant of MC1R in Neanderthals which is not present in modern humans, but which causes an effect on the hair similar to that seen in modern redheads."

    Have I got this right. MC1R is present in Neanderthal and "modern humans". A mutation on the latter causes hair "to tend to the titian" - in modern humans presumably. A (different) mutation on the former causes "an effect on the hair similar". Oh shit.

    Bring out that Alien now. Yes, we know it's currently shape shifted and it will undoubtedly look like a confused and innocuous Neanderthal. But you can't blind us with science, and we mean to break down the lab doors if you don't bring it out. We need to interrogate it to find out what the invasion plans are.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    I have heard

    that it's a sign of inbreeding ginger or red hair, I am just reporting what I have heard.

  15. Ian Damage

    If ginger hair was a sign of inbreeding..

    Then why is it lacking in all of the European royalties?

    The royal bloodlines became so inbred, that almost all of them were subject to haemophilia, or "the disease of kings".

    As for ginger jokes being thrown my way, I dont mind as long as they are fresh and new. Throw the old standard ones at me, and I throw a right hook back at you.

    And for the record, I believe it was homo erectus that shared living space with neanderthal, not cro-magnon.

  16. tony trolle
    Paris Hilton

    alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone receptor (MC1r)

    mmmmm - more likely to do with fur & hair (and melanin) than being a ginger Neanderthal. The Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1r) gene has over 30 versions, its home is based on the important 16 chromosome. Someone is reading TOO much into it.

  17. tony trolle

    or blond...

    found this funny..

    "A project to sequence the entire Neanderthal genome was recently hit by the discovery that samples had been contaminated with modern human DNA."

    and from another boffin.

    "The observation that the Neanderthal version of the gene is not found in modern humans suggests they did not interbreed with each other, as some scientists have proposed."

    SO this close "switched off" gene version in modern humans does red hair but we are only guessing what it did to Neanderthals DNA; blond of course is as we all know is a full switched off pigment

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And here I have been lusting after ...

    And here I have been lusting after our red-head, pale and freckeled sisters for all my life just to discover that they are Neanderthals!

    Oh well bring em' on!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Excuse me, but

    There is evidence that neanderthals still existed 35K years ago. And judging by the anti-ginge comments here, they still exist.

    By the way, I myself don't have ginger hair, I have golden hair.

  20. Sam

    To the anti ginger squad

    ...So you don't fancy shagging Nicole Kidman, then?

  21. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    @Chris G

    Actually, no. Aryans are the race and Aryanism is the idealogy that the Aryan race was what pure germans consisted of. It was part of the larger imperialist notion that the pure, german, aryan race should dominate the entire world because they were superior.

    Arians were a particular sect of christianity that proposed what is now referred to as Arianism, or the Arian Heresy, the absolute denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. It does, of course, only apply to Christians that hold that particular belief. It does seem likely that Mohammed spent some time learning in Arian schools of thought before he got Islam started, since there's a lot of Arian ideas within Islam regarding the nature of Christ.

    Anyway, Arians were never a racial group and never proposed any particular ideas of mass slaughter, nor held any particular belief of superiority (except possibly at the big debating conventions christians used to have back in the day, where everyone got slaughtered every night and a lot of time was spent proving how superior your debating skills were after a few casks of cheap wine).

    It is very easy to confuse the two groups because the spelling of their name is so similar, so I can see why you'd make a mistake.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    *Ian Damage

    Prince Harry is ginger, and he's the son of prince Charles.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Re: If ginger hair was a sign of inbreeding..

    Erm.... Harry?

  24. Bruce Donado

    @Bert Ragnarok

    "By the way, I myself don't have ginger hair, I have golden hair."

    24 carrot gold by any chance?

  25. Craig Edwards

    ginger != blonde

    Why are there so many people that confuse ginger and blonde?

    Is colour blindness and stupidity also a gene, and can we disable it? :-)

  26. unsung rob


    I'd love to see the same 'light hearted jokes' about other skews of hair colour and melanin. Ejits.

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