Research that will be shown at the Irish Redhead Convention in Crosshaven, Co Cork from Aug 23-25 will demonstrate that a new era of redheads could be upon us, as large numbers of people all over northwest Europe carry the redhead gene.
Alistair Moffat, managing director of IrelandsDNA, explained that the study was conducted in order to answer the question of why couples who don't have a single red hair between them can produce red-headed children.
The Irish Examiner quotes the director, who says, "My wife and I have three kids and two of them have red hair but neither of us have red hair and I wondered what was going on.
"I knew it wasn't the milkman because we both had our DNA tested with IrelandsDNA. What we wanted to understand was how parents have red-haired children if they themselves don't have red hair."
The answer, the study determined, is that "[the parents] themselves are carriers of the recessive gene variant. Both parents have to have it.
"If they both have it, there is about a 25% chance that they will have red haired children."
Mr. Moffat says that contrary to popular belief that gingers are dying out, the fact is actually that there is a huge "shadow army" of gene carriers in Europe, ready to pass the trait on to the next generation.
"There is a shadow army behind you," says Moffat. "There is an army of carriers in north-western Europe, let me tell you."
Moffat and the others who were involved in the study plan to announce the hard numbers of people carrying the gene at the convention at the end of August.
"I am not going to give away numbers but it's big. Much bigger than the number of people who have red hair."
Rough estimates put the number of the world's population with red hair at around .6%. A percentage that rises to between 2 and 6 percent in northwest Europe.
Most specifically, Moffat says that Britain and Ireland are the "red-headed nations." So it is only fitting to hold the Redhead Convention in Ireland.
Here's an ad spot for the convention:
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore