Inherited hair color is determined by the genetic code of 46 chromosomes (half from mom, half from dad) that are composed of DNA instructions carrying traits passed on to their progeny.
The Genetics Behind Hair Color
Inherited hair color is determined by the genetic code of 46 chromosomes (half from mom, half from dad) that are composed of DNA instructions carrying traits passed on to their progeny. These instructions are also known as “genes” and are responsible for our physical appearance, such as eye color, facial features, and of course, our hair.
When it comes to determining which parent contributes more to our inherited hair color, there are two genes in play—the MC1R gene from both parents and the TYRP1 gene from only one parent. The MC1R gene controls how much pigment is produced in our hairs; if we have more melanin (pigment) in our strands, we will have darker colors such as brown or black. On the other hand, if we have fewer melanin molecules then we will have lighter colors such as blonde or red. In essence, both parents contribute to this trait equally by passing down either an active or inactive form of MC1R gene.
The TYRP1 gene is responsible for creating pheomelanin (red-orange pigment) in our strands. This gene only comes from one parent so they can potentially affect their child’s hair color more than the other parent would. For example, if a mother has dark brown hair but she has an active form of TYRP1 gene while her partner has lighter brownish-blonde locks with an inactive form of TYRP1 gene, then their offspring may inherit auburn/ginger locks due to the mother’s contribution being stronger than her partner’s contribution on this particular trait.
So there you have it! We now know that not only does each parent contribute equally to their child’s inherited hair color via MC1R gene but one parent can make a bigger impact by contributing actively via TYRP1 when compared to another parent who doesn’t possess this active trait in his/her strands. Knowing this information can help us better understand why some children’s locks might resemble more closely one parent over another! And with all these new insights into genetics and inheritance, maybe even more mysteries about human nature can be uncovered soon!
Can we change our hair color?
Yes, you can change your hair color through the use of dyes or other chemical treatments. However, these changes are not genetic and therefore will not be passed down to future generations.
Are there any other genes that affect hair color?
Yes, there are several other gene variants that contribute to hair color. However, the MC1R and TYRP1 genes are considered to be the primary determinants of hair color inheritance.
Does diet affect our hair color?
While diet can influence general health and well-being, it has no direct effect on our inherited hair color. The primary determinants of hair color inheritance are the MC1R and TYRP1 genes.
Can genetics be used to predict our future hair color?
While there is no exact science to predict our hair color down the line, we can use genetic testing to gather more information about our inherited traits. Knowing our genetic code can help us make better informed decisions about how to care for and maintain our hair color as we age.
Throughout his career, Andras has developed a deep understanding of DNA and its applications in genealogy and genetic testing. He has helped thousands of individuals uncover their ancestral heritage, using cutting-edge DNA analysis to trace family lineages and reveal connections across generations.