ginger Prince Harry Image from New Medical Terms

ginger Prince Harry


Red hair (ginger, UK) is an autosomal recessive phenotype inherited when both patents have specific codon changes on MC1R, the melanocortin 1 receptor gene (aka melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor–MSHR). A ginger child can be born to non-gingerparents–i.e., don’t shoot the milkman or builder  without a paternity test.

The increase of red hair in northern Europe relative to Africa, where there is natural selection against light-coloured skin, has been attributed to a lack of negative selection, to genetic drift and possibly sexual selection.

Data suggest that gingers differ from non-gingers in sensitivity to pain and anaesthetics, which has been attributed to molecular cross-talk between melanin-stimulating hormone–MSH and pro-opiomelanocortin–POMC and their respective receptors.

As an aside, the wikipedia entry on red heads is worth a read.


A slang term for a prostitute who regularly robs clients. 



adjective Referring to red hair or a person with same

noun A person with orange-red hair colour or the hair itself, which is seen in 1-2% of the entire human population, 2-6% in Europeans, and 13% of Scots. 


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