Genetics: skin tone and hair color

If I have kids but don’t pass my hair color along to them, can they still inherit my skin tone?

Before you dismiss my question by googling an eight-grade level genetics explanation for me, let me give you the reason for my question: as a fair freckled redhead, I’ve inherited at least one, probably two mutated copies of the MC1R gene: not only am I a redhead I have one redhead parent and the other parent has more redheads in his family than she does. This gene mutation is supposed to be responsible for both causing red hair and the fair freckled skin that many redheads have, which explains why us kids don’t have dad’s slightly darker complexion.

My question is how linked are these two things? Can my fair skin be passed along to my offspring without them having red hair too, or would kids who inherit a hypothetical mate’s black hair have to get his skin tone as well?

Short answer: no, they are seperate and can be inherited seperately. It’s somewhat moe likely to link eye color and hair color.

However, they are also very complex, and there are multiple genes which code for skin color. There’s something like 50 variants of genetically encoded skin color, and there are unmerous other factors which play into it.

So in theory, a biracial child could have black skin and red hair, or something?

fwiw, my very WASP step-brother and his Indian wife have a son with coal black hair and eyes and very fair skin, and a daughter with medium brown hair and eyes and cafe au lait skin (about mid-way between the two parents in shade). Both are very beautiful, btw, but I always thought it was funny how the genes split.

My niece has bright red hair, fair skin with freckles, and dark brown eyes.

The gene in question isn’t linked to eye-color, so redheads can have any.

Red hair (usually quite a dark red) and coffee coloured skin isn’t unknown amongst NZ Maori (with some European ancestry).

(I googled to try and find some info on this but keep running into the weirdos who think NZ was once inhabited by Celts, or ancient astronauts, or somesuch). :slight_smile:

My Mother’s Great Grandmother was an African slave in Georgia, the rest of my family is Irish. My Mom has dark wiry brown hair, olive skin and dark brown eyes. My Dad is classic medium blonde Irish with Blue eyes.

My brother and I both have blonde hair and blue eyes. (Well, our hair was blonde until about age thirty, now I’d call it light brown.)

The kicker: If you say the word “sun” my Brother turns a shade browner. He can tan like a champ, and would have made a fortune in the 70’s tanning competitions. I, on the other hand go from white to red and back again, without the tiniest nod to brown. This has not improved even as my hair darkened.

So yes, they are unrelated, and the mix can happen in any combination.

I have red hair, freckles, blue eyes and freckles.

My husband has dark brown hair, olive skin and dark brown eyes.

We have 4 kids with every range of skin and hair color. Some have fair skin and dark hair, or olive skin and blond hair, or any kind of combination.