It’s a good time to be ginger right now.
Chris Evans is fronting Top Gear, Ed Sheeran is probably getting laid more than any other copper-top crooner in history (with the possible exception of Mick Hucknall) and now science says being red gives you better genetics.
That’s right. According to a new study published in Current Biology, carrying the gene known for giving people red hair and fair skin is likely to make you appear two years younger on average.
Scanning the faces of 2,693 elderly Dutch Europeans, researchers at Erasmus University, Rotterdam found that those carrying a variation of the MC1R gene looked roughly 24 months younger than their actual age.
25 aspects of the participant’s face were analyzed using a 3dMD image assessment system - including skin tone and creases - with the results then put through an algorithm designed to calculate a perceived age.
This involved examining the individuals’ DNA and looking to find gene mutations that were more common in those who looked younger. And - lo and behold - it was MC1R, a gene already known for its protection benefits against UV radiation and DNA damage thanks to the large amounts of melanin it creates.
Professor Dr Manfred Kayser said of the study: “For the first time a gene has been found that explains in part why some people look older and others younger for their age. Looking young for one’s age has been a desire since time immemorial.
“The desire is attributable to the belief that appearance reflects health and fecundity. Indeed, perceived age predicts survival and associates with molecular markers of ageing.”
So there you have it. Dorian wasn’t Gray, he was ginger.