Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Baldness Gene Discovered: 1 In 7 Men At Risk

Date:
October 13, 2008
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Researchers have identified two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce an astounding sevenfold increase the risk of male pattern baldness.

Researchers have identified two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce an astounding sevenfold increase the risk of male pattern baldness.
Credit: iStockphoto/Lori Lee Miller

Researchers at McGill University, King's College London and GlaxoSmithKline Inc. have identified two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce an astounding sevenfold increase the risk of male pattern baldness.

About a third of all men are affected by male pattern baldness by age 45. The condition's social and economic impact is considerable: expenditures for hair transplantation in the United States alone exceeded $115 million (U.S.) in 2007, while global revenues for medical therapy for male-pattern baldness recently surpassed $405 million. Male pattern baldness is the most common form of baldness, where hair is lost in a well-defined pattern beginning above both temples, and results in a distinctive M-shaped hairline. Estimates suggest more than 80 per cent of cases are hereditary.

This study was conducted by Dr. Vincent Mooser of GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Brent Richards of McGill University's Faculty of Medicine and the affiliated Jewish General Hospital (and formerly of King's College), and Dr. Tim Spector of King's College. Along with colleagues in Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the researchers conducted a genome-wide association study of 1,125 Caucasian men who had been assessed for male pattern baldness. They found two previously unknown genetic variants on chromosome 20 that substantially increased the risk of male pattern baldness. They then confirmed these findings in an additional 1,650 Caucasian men.

"I would presume male pattern baldness is caused by the same genetic variation in non-caucasians," said Richards, an assistant professor in genetic epidemiology, "but we haven't studied those populations, so we can't say for certain."

Though the researchers consider their discovery to be a scientific breakthrough, they caution that it does not mean a treatment or cure for male pattern baldness is imminent.

"We've only identified a cause," Richards said. "Treating male pattern baldness will require more research. But, of course, the first step in finding a way to treat most conditions it is to first identify the cause."

"Early prediction before hair loss starts may lead to some interesting therapies that are more effective than treating late stage hair loss," added Spector, of King's College and director of the TwinsUK cohort study.

Researchers have long been aware of a genetic variant on the X chromosome that was linked to male pattern baldness, Richards said.

"That's where the idea that baldness is inherited from the mother's side of the family comes from," he explained. "However it's been long recognized that that there must be several genes causing male pattern baldness. Until now, no one could identify those other genes. If you have both the risk variants we discovered on chromosome 20 and the unrelated known variant on the X chromosome, your risk of becoming bald increases sevenfold."

"What's startling is that one in seven men have both of those risk variants. That's 14 per cent of the total population!"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richards et al. Male-pattern baldness susceptibility locus at 20p11. Nature Genetics, October 12, 2008; DOI: 10.1038/ng.255

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Baldness Gene Discovered: 1 In 7 Men At Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081012164437.htm>.
McGill University. (2008, October 13). Baldness Gene Discovered: 1 In 7 Men At Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081012164437.htm
McGill University. "Baldness Gene Discovered: 1 In 7 Men At Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081012164437.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins