Wondering what your baby will look after they finally get here is par for the course when you’re an expecting parent. While all traits are passed down through a complicated game of genetic chess, some are easier to predict than others. Predicting baby’s hair color is one characteristic a relatively accurate educated guess can be made.
Predicting Hair Color
For some, the big reveal will be pretty anticlimactic. Sure, you can always draw a genetic wildcard, but for the most part, if your entire family has one hair color, the odds suggest that your baby will come out with whatever the fam is rocking. It doesn’t take much to ripple the pond, though, which is where dominate and recessive genes, and blending come into play.
A Mini-genetics Lesson
Each of our parents contribute portions of their DNA that then become our own genetic code. Not everything they pass along is expressed, but we still have the ability to pass these traits on to our children.
Eye and hair color is an example of how the dominant and recessive alleles you and your partner are carrying around can combine to create unique traits.
That all said, predicting baby’s hair color is more complex than a mini-genetics lesson can explain, partly because hair color can blend, and the final color can change as your child ages.
Dominant vs Recessive Hair Colors
Keeping in mind that determining hair color isn’t quite this easy, in general here’s how these common scenarios play out:
Black hair: Black hair is both the most common hair color worldwide, and is typically dominate, and non-blending with lighter colors. If you or your partner have black hair, odds are your offspring will have black hair.
Brown hair: Being brunette allows for a little more flexibility, but this is based off what unexpressed alleles both parents are carrying around, and how many shades of brown there are. In a blonde-brunette pairing, there is a chance for a blonde child, though the odds are more in favor of a brunette child. In a brunette-brunette pairing, your offspring will likely have a shade of brown. In a black-brunette pairing, the child will likely have black hair, but could end up with a shade of brown. Helpful, right? Genetics are weird.
Blonde hair: Blonde is recessive, and a blonde-blonde pairing would result in blonde offspring.
Red hair: Red hair is a whole different ball game and is classified as an “incomplete dominate” meaning it’s neither dominate or recessive. Instead, when a baby receives a red allele from a parent, it blends with whatever allele it receives from the other parent. So, if baby gets a red allele from mama, and a blonde allele from dada, it will be strawberry blonde. If instead of blonde from dada, it gets brown, baby will be auburn.
WHEW! See?! Complicated. This really is just the tip of the ice burg, but you get the point.
So how did our baby hair color predictor work for you and your family?
Let us know in the comments!