In the media
In 2002 BBC News reported that unnamed German experts had concluded that the natural distribution of blond hair would cease within the span of 200 years owing to the genes associated with blond hair being recessive. The article reported the scientists had said that there is a reportedly low number of people carrying the recessive blond allele, especially in nations of mixed heritage (for example, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia). The dominant alleles (brown hair, black hair, brown eyes) "overthrow" the recessive genes or metaphorically, endanger them. Subsequently the study was attributed to the World Health Organization. In the BBC article Prof. Jonathan Rees of the University of Edinburgh cast doubt on the story—he was quoted as saying "The frequency of blondes may drop but they won't disappear."
In October 2002 The New York Times reported that the World Health Organization had no knowledge of this study.
In 2006 the hoax was mentioned by The Sunday Times when reporting on the publication of a hypothesis of the origins of blonde hair and La Repubblica: "According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202." It once again traveled quickly across the World Wide Web. The hoax has also been featured on the "Threat-Down" segment of the satirical television show The Colbert Report on March 6, 2006, where Stephen Colbert suggested a selective breeding program to save blonds.