Color & Control:

Round Up

Check out this issue's Round Up.

The redhead gene in both parents

The child of two non-redhead parents can grow a red mane– but the science suggests that their red hair has been inherited from both parents and not only from one of them.

A child can have flaming red hair and freckles on their nose and their parents will have dark or brown hair, without a hint of red. This happens quite often and makes us wonder: Where did it come from? Did the child get his red hair from his father or mother?  Or did it come from the grandfather’s uncle, as suggested by his family? The answer is almost always: from both parents.

The gene that underlies red hair is Melanocortin 1 Receptor, or MC1R. This gene has several versions, one of which is related to red hair. Having red hair is the result of a recessive trait, which means that only those who get two “redhead” versions of the gene, one from the mother and one from the father, will have red hair.

Simply put: an individual can have dark hair and be a carrier of the “redhead” gene, which they may or may not pass on to their children.

There are baseless rumors that redheads are in danger of becoming extinct. Do not worry: redheads are not going anywhere. The children of those “mixed couples”, in which one partner is redheaded and the other is not, will most likely not have red hair—but they will be carriers of the “redhead” gene.

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

The Nordic way to help stop bullying

There is little doubt that bullying is a risk to mental health with elevated anxiety, depression and paranoid thinking, with some victims struggling even when bullying stops.

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program was developed by the late Swedish-Norwegian psychologist, Dan Olweus. The program is based on the idea that individual cases are often the product of a wider culture that tolerates victimisation. As a result, Olweus tackles the entire school ecosystem to stop bad behaviour from flourishing.

He starts with a recognition of the problem, which includes schools setting up a survey to question the students about their experiences. The school then asked to set out very clear expectations for acceptable behaviour–and consequences if they are breached.

At the classroom level, kids hold meetings to discuss the nature of bullying–and the ways that they can help students who are victims .The aim is ensuring that the anti-bullying message is ingrained in the institution’s culture.

The program has been tested in various settings, including a widescale rollout across more than 200 schools. The results showed 2,000 fewer cases of bullying over a two year period. A recent meta-analysis also concluded that anti-bullying campaigns not only reduce victimisation but also improve the general mental health of students.


Memories that’ll last a lifetime

Edith Lemay and her husband Sebastien Pelletier’s have four children. Three have a rare genetic disorder that causes the breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. This means they will gradually lose their eyesight and have to adapt to what they can and can’t see. One day they will all be completely blind.

When Mia, now 11, was first diagnosed five years ago, a specialist suggested that they fill their daughter’s mind with “visual memories” that she could refer back to when she could no longer see. Then, a few years later the Boucherville, Quebec couple found out that two of their three boys,
Colin and Laurent, also shared the same condition as Mia. 

To prepare for the future, the whole family has embarked on what they hope will be a yearlong trip full of adventure, challenges, and most of all, beautiful sights that they can hold on to forever. Whether they’re sandboarding down the dunes of Walvis Bay or encountering a large pelican on a boat trip to a seal colony, Lemay’s goal isn’t to drill into her kids that this might be the last time they see such things. Instead, she’s encouraging them to “be in the moment and build the memories.”

Last check in: the family had set their sights on Tazara Railway, which connects Zambia and Tanzania, then they plan to travel to Mongolia.


Photos: Andrea Piacquadio. CanStock. The Star.

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