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Genetic test to predict early menopause

Date:
October 18, 2010
Source:
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Summary:
New research could lead to a test to predict a woman's reproductive lifespan. The findings could have considerable impact on women in western countries, where many start having children at a later age.

The first research from the Breakthrough Generations Study could lead to a test to predict a woman's reproductive lifespan.

The findings, recently published in Human Molecular Genetics, could have considerable impact on women in the UK and other western countries, where many start having children at a later age. Early menopause affects one in 20 UK women.

The study from scientists at the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), funded by The Wellcome Trust, tested four genes associated with the menopause. They compared 2,000 women from the Breakthrough Generations Study who had experienced early menopause with a matched group of the same number. The four genes each affected risk of early menopause. In combination, they had a larger impact, which goes towards explaining why some women experience early menopause.

The Breakthrough Generations Study is a large and comprehensive study into the causes of breast cancer and a partnership between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the ICR. The study will follow the 100,000 UK women participants for the next 40 years to unravel the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause the disease.

Although early menopause is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer, women who experience early menopause are susceptible to other health problems including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and a reduction in fertility.

The research could help women determine whether they have a genetic predisposition to early menopause, and therefore predict the time of the end of their reproductive life. They could then make informed family planning decisions on the basis of this knowledge.

Lead scientist Dr Anna Murray, from the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School, says, "It is estimated that a woman's ability to conceive decreases on average ten years before she starts the menopause. Therefore, those who are destined to have an early menopause and delay childbearing until their 30s are more likely to have problems conceiving.

"These findings are the first stage in developing an easy and relatively inexpensive genetic test which could help the one in 20 UK women who may be affected by early menopause."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna Murray, Claire E. Bennett, John R.b. Perry, Michael N. Weedon, Reprogen Consortium, Patricia A. Jacobs, Danielle H. Morris, Nicholas Orr, Minouk J. Schoemaker, Michael Jones, Alan Ashworth, and Anthony J. Swerdlow. Common genetic variants are significant risk factors for early menopause: results from the Breakthrough Generations Study. Human Molecular Genetics, October 17, 2010 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddq417

Cite This Page:

The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. "Genetic test to predict early menopause." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101017213249.htm>.
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. (2010, October 18). Genetic test to predict early menopause. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101017213249.htm
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. "Genetic test to predict early menopause." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101017213249.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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