Let’s be honest: “How many blondes does it take to change a light bulb?’’ was never a funny joke. And now there’s scientific evidence that being born towhead doesn’t have any genetic link to intelligence. Even less funny.
A team of Stanford researchers led by David Kingsley, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, recently published a paper in Nature Genetics revealing that while being blond is a genetic anomaly, it has no link to any other biological traits. According to National Geographic, the “tiny genetic mutation’’ is further defined as “a single letter change from an A to a G among 3 billion letters in the book of human DNA’’ — so yes, blond beauties, you are a rare gem, but that doesn’t have any effect whatsoever on your intelligence, cause you to have any more fun, or guarantee your admission into Harvard Law School.
While some genetic characteristics travel in pairs or groupings, the researchers said the blond gene is so unique that it has no links to any other biological traits, including eye color. While other physical traits can often “travel as a package’’ — as Kingsley noted to National Geographic: the genetic cocktail of red hair, fair skin, and light colored eyes were often linked to “greater sensitivity to pain and temperature changes’’ — the blond gene only affects the hair follicles.
Kingsley told Forbes, “It’s clear that this hair color change is occurring through a regulatory mechanism that operates only in the hair. This isn’t something that also affects other traits, like intelligence or personality. The change that causes blond hair is, literally, only skin deep.’’