In one of my more recent questions, one Xandar The Zenon commented that a mutation that creates the gene for red or orange pigmentation on the human skin is more likely than green, blue or purple.

But wait. You might think, don't we already have red-skinned humans? Actually, the Native Americans aren't purely red, just diluted into a dominant shade of brown.

This question is for a mutation regarding REAL red:

  • American Rose
  • Coquelicot
  • Crimson
  • Scarlet

To name a few shades.

But looking into the origin of ethnic diversity is not straightforward. The Mongoloid body plan is the result of an individual mutation from 35,000 years ago. The Caucasians, by contrast, started to become white as sheets 7,000 years ago as the result of agriculture cultivating crop foods low in vitamin D. Which side would make the red skin gene a possibility?

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    $\begingroup$ Don't try to slide in things people might consider a slur, even as a joke. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ Who said I was joking? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2016 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


Humans already make pheomelanin, a red form of melanin; it's the pigment which makes the lips and areolas pink/red/brown. So you just need a mutation which modifies the distribution of pheomelanin and the ratio between pheomelanin and eumelanin. The result won't be red as a red rose, but red enough. And anyway, some of the hues on Von Luschan's chromatic scale look pink or dark reddish brown to me.

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    $\begingroup$ So, just some random mutation rather than some geographic connection. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2016 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey: The color of "white" people (people of the Old World who are not of sub-Saharan African, Central Asian or Far Eastern descent) varies clinally from very light brownish/pinkish in the north to light brown to dark brown to very dark brown in the south. If instead if eumelanin the dominant pigment would be pheomelanin that would change into a clinal variation of pink, copper or reddish brown. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 23, 2016 at 0:10

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