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    Woman with red hair
Man with red hair

Red hair occurs naturally in 1–2% of the human population. It occurs more frequently (2–6%) in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations. Red hair appears most commonly in people with two copies of a recessive allele on chromosome 16 which produces an altered version of the MC1R protein.

Red hair varies from a deep burgundy through burnt orange to bright copper. It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The term redhead has been in use since at least 1510.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> It is associated with fair skin color, lighter eye colors (gray, blue, green, and hazel), freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.<ref name=valverde />

Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.


Red hair sections
Intro   Geographic distribution    Biochemistry and genetics    Medical implications of the red hair gene    Red hair of pathological origin    Culture    See also    References    External links   

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