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Encyclopedia > Disappearing blonde gene
Perhaps recessive, but only minorly threatened.
Perhaps recessive, but only minorly threatened.

Disappearing blonde gene was a hoax that started circulating in the media in 2002. According to this hoax, the World Health Organization, or other experts, published a report that people with blond hair "will become extinct by 2202"[1]. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (686x937, 127 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Disappearing blonde gene Talk:Blond/Archive 1 ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (686x937, 127 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Disappearing blonde gene Talk:Blond/Archive 1 ... A hoax is an attempt to trick an audience into believing that something false is real. ... The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ... One of the worlds most famous blondes Marilyn Monroe, who was in fact a natural brunette Blond (feminine, blonde) is a hair colour found in certain mammals characterised by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin and higher levels of the pale pigment phæomelanin, in common with red...


The hoax has two parts. First, neither WHO nor any reputable expert has issued such a report.


The second part of the hoax is the claim that blonde populations would eventually disappear. This is based on a misunderstanding of recessive genes. To show (or "express") the effect of a recessive gene, such as the phenotype for blondeness, a person must inherit the gene from both parents. A recessive gene inherited from only one parent is masked by a dominant gene, and not expressed. However, a recessive gene may be passed on to children. A child may be blonde even if both parents are non-blonde, so long as both parents pass on the recessive blonde gene. Unless a gene is associated with a disadvantage to survival or reproduction, it will continue to be passed on to future generations and occasionally expressed. In fact, under assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg principle, the concentration of the gene in the population will remain constant. In genetics, the term recessive gene refers to an allele that causes a phenotype (visible or detectable characteristic) that is only seen in a homozygous genotype (an organism that has two copies of the same allele). ... Individuals in the mollusk species Donax variabilis show diverse coloration and patterning in their phenotypes. ... Hardy–Weinberg principle for two alleles: the horizontal axis shows the two allele frequencies p and q, the vertical axis shows the genotype frequencies and the three possible genotypes are represented by the different glyphs In population genetics, the Hardy–Weinberg principle (HWP) (also Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE), or Hardy...


In the media

A number of news agencies, such as Canadian Press and BBC News took the bait. In 2002 the BBC News (and others) reported[2] that unnamed German scientists had concluded that the natural distribution of fair hair would cease within the span of 200 years due to the genes associated with fair hair being recessive; only a select number of people from Finland will have naturally blond hair. The article stated that there is a reportedly low number of people carrying the recessive blond genes, especially in nations of mixed heritage (examples: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia). The dominant genes (brown hair, black hair, brown eyes) 'overthrow' the recessive genes or metaphorically, endanger them. Subsequently the study was attributed to the World Health Organization. The Canadian Press (CP) is a Canadian news agency established in 1917 as a vehicle to permit Canadian newspapers of the day to exchange their news and information. ... The current BBC News logo BBC News and Current Affairs is a major arm of the BBC responsible for the corporations newsgathering and production of news programmes on BBC television, radio and online. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... In genetics, the term recessive gene refers to an allele that causes a phenotype (visible or detectable characteristic) that is only seen in a homozygous genotype (an organism that has two copies of the same allele). ... Biological inheritance is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to characteristics of its parent cell or organism. ... In genetics, the term dominant gene refers to the allele that causes a phenotype that is seen in a heterozygous genotype. ... A woman with brown hair Brown hair is characterised by very high levels of the dark pigment eumelanin and lower levels of the pale pigment phaeomelanin. ... Unlucky black cat. ... This article is about the geographical distribution and social connotations of eye color in humans. ... In genetics, the term recessive gene refers to an allele that causes a phenotype (visible or detectable characteristic) that is only seen in a homozygous genotype (an organism that has two copies of the same allele). ... The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ...


In October 2002 the New York Times reported that the World Health Organization had no knowledge of this study.[3] The WHO has since officially confirmed that the story is a fake. [4] The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ...


Causing some stir in media and blogs, including angry feminist protests and numerous rebuttals from scientists, the hoax naturally died out, only to resurface in 2006 in Sunday Times [5] and La Repubblica: "According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202." It once again traveled quickly across the World Wide Web [6]. The hoax has been also featured on the "Threat-Down" segment of The Colbert Report on March 6, 2006, where Stephen Colbert suggested a selective breeding program to save blondes. It has been suggested that Online diary be merged into this article or section. ... Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ... The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper distributed in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International which is in turn owned by News Corporation. ... La Repubblica (meaning: The Republic) is an Italian daily newspaper. ... WWWs historical logo designed by Robert Cailliau The World Wide Web (WWW or simply the Web) is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents that runs over the Internet. ... The Colbert Report (pronounced )[1] is an American satirical television program on Comedy Central that stars comedian Stephen Colbert, best known previously as a senior correspondent for The Daily Show. ... March 6 is the 65th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (66th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about Stephen Colbert, the actor. ...


References

  1. ^ "Natural blondes are likely to be extinct within 200 years" from Bit of News
  2. ^ "Blondes 'to die out in 200 years'", from the BBC, September 27, 2002.
  3. ^ "Hair-raising story about blonds cut short", from The Age, October 3, 2002
  4. ^ WHO clarification
  5. ^ Cavegirls were first blondes to have fun. The online version was corrected later.
  6. ^ "Natural blondes are likely to be extinct within 200 years" from Bit of News

 
 

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