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Do blondes have more fun?

2 April 2001
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 101

People with blonde hair are being called for a study designed to show whether blondes really do have more fun and why. A team of scientists at Edinburgh University hope to discover why people have different colour hair and how it might affect them. They want blondes of all ages to take part in a two year research project aimed at finding out more about the genetics of their hair colour.

Professor Jonathan Rees said 'we are very ignorant of the genetics and we don't understand why some people are blonde and others not'. The scientists are curious as to why blonde hair developed in Northern Europe and nowhere else in the world, bearing in mind that the hair colour of the majority of the world population is black.

They are trying to find a gene that gives some people blonde colouring in order to see what advantages having that gene might bring, especially when it is known that having blonde hair seems to make people more prone to sunburn and skin cancer. Earlier work done by the team on red haired people seemed to suggest that no evolutionary selection was at work, but that the gene code for red was just 'genetic drift'.

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