Press Trust of India
December 20, 2012 14:18 IST
The question remains- Is Kate a carrier of the red-haired gene?
There are more than fifty per cent chances that the baby of Prince William and Kate Middleton may
be born a redhead, just like his uncle Prince Harry, geneticists believe.
While the royal baby may inherit his or her father Prince William's rugged features, or mother Kate's high forehead and heart-shaped face, there is a 52 per cent chance that the third in line to the throne may be born with the same flame-haired good looks as its uncle, Prince Harry, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
Scientists tested more than 5,000 people in Britain for their ancestral DNA and discovered that an extraordinarily high number - 38.3 per cent - are carriers of the red-haired gene, though most do not know it.
"For the child to have red hair, both parents need to be carriers," said Alistair Moffat, director of BritainsDNA, a DNA testing company, which carried out the research.
"Princess Diana and Prince Charles must both have been since Prince William's brother, Harry, has gloriously red hair," Moffat said.
"The way the genetic dice fall, that means Prince William has a 67 per cent chance of being a carrier of the gene
variant. The question remains, is Kate a carrier?," he added.
"As a result of our study, we can say she has a 38.3 per cent chance of being one. If those percentages are averaged, it is 52 per cent likely that Kate and Wills will have a red-haired child," he said.
He also pointed to a long tradition of red hair in the monarchy.
"Three of the greatest monarchs had it - Queen Elizabeth I, Henry II and the Richard the Lionheart were all red-heads. There was also a famous ancestor in the family of Princess Diana, William's mother, John Poyntz Spencer, the fifth earl, known as the 'Red Earl' because of his long red beard," he said.
Although only around 5 per cent of the UK population - 3,132,000 people - have red hair, BritainsDNA said its
research suggested there are 24 million carriers of the redhead gene in the country.
By contrast, only about 1-2 per cent of the world's population has red hair.
Moffat, whose company is based in Melrose, Roxburghshire, believes the UK's gloomy northern climate has seen a deliberate genetic adaptation, including fairer skin, to help exploit rare sunny days and boost vitamin D production.