St. Patrick’s Day evokes thoughts of all things often associated with the Irish — including red hair.
Chemically speaking, what sets redheads apart from the crowd is pigmentation — specifically melanins. Most humans produce the brown-black eumelanin that results in varying shades of skin color and hair from blonde to black.
Redheads have a genetic variant that causes cells to produce instead reddish pheomelanin, resulting in pale skin and fiery locks. How red hair is produced by redheads’ cells might also explain why they have different sensitivity to pain.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.
The American Chemical Society does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
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News source: American Chemical Society. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to American Chemical Society.