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The MC1R recessive variant gene that gives people red hair generally results in skin that is unable to tan.

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This type of inheritance is described as an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.In Africa, for example, red hair is selected against because high levels of sun harm untanned skin.However, in Northern Europe this does not happen, so redheads can become more common through genetic drift.Even if both parents do not have red hair themselves, both can be carriers for the gene and have a redheaded child.Genetic studies of dizygotic (fraternal) twins indicate that the MC1R gene is not solely responsible for the red hair phenotype; unidentified modifier genes exist, making variance in the MC1R gene necessary, but not always sufficient, for red hair production.

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