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The hair color gene MC1R has at least seven variants in Europe giving the continent a wide range of hair and eye shades.Based on recent genetic research carried out at three Japanese universities, the date of the genetic mutation that resulted in blond hair in Europe has been isolated to about 11,000 years ago during the last ice age.The French (and thus also the derived English) word "blond" has two possible origins.

Blond hair is most common in Scandinavia and Baltic Sea countries, where true blondism is believed to have originated.The pigmentation of both hair and eyes is lightest around the Baltic Sea, and darkness increases regularly and almost concentrically around this region with countries such as the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, etc.Each of the two forms, however, is pronounced identically.American Heritage's Book of English Usage propounds that, insofar as "a blonde" can be used to describe a woman but not a man who is merely said to possess blond(e) hair, the term is an example of a "sexist stereotype [whereby] women are primarily defined by their physical characteristics." The OED also records that blond as an adjective is especially used with reference to women, in which case it is likely to be spelt "blonde", citing three Victorian usages of the term.It gradually eclipsed the native term "fair", of same meaning, from Old English fæġer, causing "fair" later to become a general term for "light complexioned".

This earlier use of "fair" survives in the proper name Fairfax, from Old English fæġer-feahs meaning "blond hair".Published in May 2012 in Science, a study of people from the Solomon Islands in Melanesia found that an amino acid change in TYRP1 produced blonde hair.so much so that the term "baby blond" is often used for very light colored hair.An alternative hypothesis was presented by Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, who claims blond hair evolved very quickly in a specific area at the end of the last ice age by means of sexual selection.According to Frost, the appearance of blond hair and blue eyes in some northern European women made them stand out from their rivals, and more sexually appealing to men, at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.Lighter skin is due to a low concentration in pigmentation, thus allowing more sunlight to trigger the production of vitamin D.