Wizard
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Wizard
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March 8th, 2012 at 12:00:53 AM permalink
On the Chelsea Lately show today Chelsea said that unless red heads have children with each other then the trait will eventually die out. This I found hard to believe. Red hair is passed along by non-read heads via a recessive gene. Only with both red-head genes will someone have red hair. As long as people with the red hair mate as much as those who don't, regardless of the partner's hair color, then the proportion of red heads should remain the same. As far as I know red-headed men and women have the same fertility rate as the rest of us.

Upon doing some digging, most web sites agree with me that red heads dying out is an urban legend. Just out of curiosity, I did some math. Let's assume that 2% of the American population has red hair. After some math I won't get into I find that the proportion of red-headed genes out there would be sqr(2)/10=14.14%. That would make the probability of being a carrier 24.28%.

An ex-girlfriend of mine was a bright orange red head, and neither her mom nor dad was. She said that when she was a kid she asked her mother why she had red hair, when neither her mother nor father did. Her mother answered, "I don't know, but I do recall our old mail man had red hair."
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
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March 8th, 2012 at 12:31:31 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

On the Chelsea Lately show today Chelsea said that unless red heads have children with each other then the trait will eventually die out. This I found hard to believe. ...
Upon doing some digging, most web sites agree with me that red heads dying out is an urban legend.



Are redheads going extinct? makes it pretty clear that the trait can skip multiple generations.

Chelsea Handler is not a good source of scientific information. She can be pretty funny, but it looks like her scripted show is doomed.
Wizard
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Wizard
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March 8th, 2012 at 6:23:36 AM permalink
That article you linked to said that redheads are called "gingers" in the UK and Australia. Can our friends overseas confirm? Might this be due to Ginger from Gilligan's Island?

Should SOOPOO find his way to this thread, I would also be interested to know if it is true that redheads feel pain more easily, and thus might require more anesthesia than a non-red head, all other things being equal?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Nareed
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March 8th, 2012 at 6:38:56 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Should SOOPOO find his way to this thread, I would also be interested to know if it is true that redheads feel pain more easily, and thus might require more anesthesia than a non-red head, all other things being equal?



Beats me. One thing I have noticed is that red-haired people often have two eye colors. To illustrate find a good, big photo of Dana Delany and look at her eyes. They're both brown and green.
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EvenBob
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March 8th, 2012 at 6:52:56 AM permalink
That was a running gag on Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.
A guy had jet black hair and 8 kids with bright red hair.
His neighbor had no kids and bright red hair. The father
of the kids never made the connection.

"The Farkel Family was a recurring sketch on the television variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The Farkel parents, Frank Farkel (played by Dan Rowan) and Fanny Farkel (played by Jo Anne Worley, later by Barbara Sharma and finally by Patti Deutsch), both had dark-colored hair and good eyesight. Curiously, all the children had red hair and wore glasses, just like their "good friend and trusted neighbor" Ferd Berffle, played by Dick Martin. This might have implied that Ferd and Fanny had been "more" than just neighbors, but it was never explained."
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thecesspit
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March 8th, 2012 at 9:51:40 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That article you linked to said that redheads are called "gingers" in the UK and Australia. Can our friends overseas confirm? Might this be due to Ginger from Gilligan's Island?



Nah, I wouldn't have known Gilligan's Island from a hole in the ground growing up, nor would have my parents. Not sure it was even on TV. I did love the old Gilligan's Island Pinball machine, but the theme and setting meant nothing to me.

Ginger (or Ginga as we sometimes say when being slightly offensive to red heads) has always been the name in the UK, and a quick etymology scan suggests it goes back to the 1800's, possibly describing cockerels. Dickens uses it in 1865 to describe a red-bearded man. Ginger cake is reddish/sandy coloured, so may come from that, as clearly the ginger in my fridge (the root spice, not the dead body) is a pale yellowish colour.

Red-heads are associated with the Scots and Irish especially (whereas Celtic colouration is pale skin, black hair and blue eyes, the Scots, Gaels and Irish are known for green eyes, pale freckled skin and red hair)
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
jml24
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:38:19 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That article you linked to said that redheads are called "gingers" in the UK and Australia. Can our friends overseas confirm? Might this be due to Ginger from Gilligan's Island?

Should SOOPOO find his way to this thread, I would also be interested to know if it is true that redheads feel pain more easily, and thus might require more anesthesia than a non-red head, all other things being equal?



I am not from from the UK but have noticed on British TV shows that they use the term "ginger" for redheads.

There was an episode of MythBusters where they tested pain tolerance but they heard the myth that redheads were MORE resistant to pain, not less. In their test they did find some evidence that redheads could withstand pain longer, although the sample size might have been only one redhead, I can't remember. They tested how long subjects could keep a hand submerged in ice water.
AcesAndEights
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:41:51 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That article you linked to said that redheads are called "gingers" in the UK and Australia. Can our friends overseas confirm? Might this be due to Ginger from Gilligan's Island?

Should SOOPOO find his way to this thread, I would also be interested to know if it is true that redheads feel pain more easily, and thus might require more anesthesia than a non-red head, all other things being equal?


Among the younger generation, Ginger has picked up quite a bit in the states as well. This may be due to a certain South Park episode where Cartman begins a ginger extermination program, even including his "friend" Kyle.
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SOOPOO
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March 8th, 2012 at 5:14:51 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That article you linked to said that redheads are called "gingers" in the UK and Australia. Can our friends overseas confirm? Might this be due to Ginger from Gilligan's Island?

Should SOOPOO find his way to this thread, I would also be interested to know if it is true that redheads feel pain more easily, and thus might require more anesthesia than a non-red head, all other things being equal?



Redheads are known to require more anesthesia for a given procedure than non redheads. My pre op evaluations have included the question... Is that natural or from a box?
Ayecarumba
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March 8th, 2012 at 5:30:04 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

On the Chelsea Lately show today Chelsea said that unless red heads have children with each other then the trait will eventually die out. This I found hard to believe. Red hair is passed along by non-read heads via a recessive gene. Only with both red-head genes will someone have red hair. As long as people with the red hair mate as much as those who don't, regardless of the partner's hair color, then the proportion of red heads should remain the same. As far as I know red-headed men and women have the same fertility rate as the rest of us.

Upon doing some digging, most web sites agree with me that red heads dying out is an urban legend. Just out of curiosity, I did some math. Let's assume that 2% of the American population has red hair. After some math I won't get into I find that the proportion of red-headed genes out there would be sqr(2)/10=14.14%. That would make the probability of being a carrier 24.28%.



How many generations are required before a recessive gene is considered a non-issue? Does the presence of a competing strong dominant gene eventually overwhelm or dilute the recessive's opportunities to be revealed?
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