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In the array of possible natural hair colors, dark hues are the most common — more than 90 percent of people worldwide have brown or black hair. Red hair, occurring in just 1 to 2 percent of the population, is the least common. Blue eyes are similarly uncommon, and they may be becoming rarer. One study found that between andmore than half of non-Hispanic white people in the United States had blue eyes.
But from tothat fell to Today, estimates suggest about 17 percent of people worldwide have blue eyes. Your hair color and eye color come down to what genes you inherit from your parents. You must inherit two sets of genetic information for both your hair color and your eye color to have these less-common characteristics. The likelihood of this happening is quite rare, especially if neither of your parents has red hair or blue eyes.
Sometimes, however, the genetic stars align, and individuals are born with the rare combination of red hair and blue eyes. Gene characteristics fall into two : recessive and dominant. Parents share the blueprint of many features, from hair color to personality, in their genes.
Though hair color is influenced by multiple genes, in general, dominant genes win out in a head-to-head matchup against recessive genes. Brown hair and brown eyes, for example, are both dominant, which is why they make up such a large percentage of hair-eye color combinations.
Parents can also be carriers for recessive genes. While they may display the dominant genes, they still have — and can pass to their kids — the recessive genes. For example, two brown-haired, brown-eyed parents can have with blonde hair and blue eyes. Both parents can display recessive gene characteristics, and they can pass those to their children, too.
For example, if both parents have red hair, receives mostly the genetic information for red hair, so the chances they will have red hair is almost percent. The true pattern of inheritance of hair color is somewhat more complicated, though, as there are many genes involved. Melanocytes are melanin -forming cells in your skin. The amount and type of melanin your body produces determines how dark or light your skin will be. Most redhe have a gene mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor MC1R. When MC1R is inactivated, the body produces more pheomelanin, which is responsible for reddish skin and hair tones, than eumelanin, which is responsible for shades of brown and black.
In people with an activated MC1R, eumelanin can balance pheomelanin, but in redhe, the gene variant prevents that.
Whether you have one or both MC1R gene copies inactivated can also determine the shade of red hair you have, from strawberry blonde to deep auburn to bright red. This gene is responsible for freckles in many redhe, too. You might believe that because these genetic traits are rare, they could be diluted out of the gene pool entirely.
When a person hasthey can pass their recessive gene information to their offspring, and the trait could win out. Red hair is more common in women, according to research. However, Caucasian males are more likely to have blue eyes than females, research shows. As for the combination of the red hair and blue eyes, little research has looked at which sex is more likely to develop this uncommon characteristic combo. In fact, redhe have some other rare tendencies.
Limited research suggests redhe may be more likely to be left-handed. Like red hair, left-handedness is a recessive trait. In the Western hemisphere, 10 to 15 percent of people use their left hand dominantly. Redhe are thought to be more sensitive to pain, too, research shows. Plus, they may require more anesthetic during surgery or local anesthesia. Freckles are a result of genetics and too much sun exposure. Find out why they appear and what to do if you don't want them. White hair is characteristic of aging, but colorless hair strands can appear at any age — even while you're still in high school or college.
There are ways to temporarily change your eye color, but can you change it permanently? Here's what you need to know. Curly hair is determined by factors you inherit from your biological parents. Here's how it works.
Health Conditions Discover Plan Connect. Medically reviewed by Karen Gill, M. Genetics Females vs. How does someone get red hair and blue eyes. Red hair, blue eyes in females vs. Red hair, blue eyes, and left-handed. Read this next. Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph. What Causes White Hair? How to Change Your Eye Color. Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.Guys with blonde hair and brown eyes
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How Common Are People with Red Hair and Blue Eyes?