Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

This New Theory May Actually Explain Why You're Going Bald

This New Theory May Actually Explain Why You're Going Bald

In a recently published study in PLOS Genetics, a group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom discovered genetic markers that can predict male pattern baldness.

Genetics of male pattern baldness are shown.

This happens to be the largest study regarding male pattern baldness. New research identifies the genetic variants involved in the condition, which could eventually enable researchers to predict a person's chances of hair loss.

For years, scientists have been trying to dispel the assumption that men inherit baldness exclusively from their mother's side. In this study, the researchers found more than 250 genetic markers.

In the present study, researchers found that 14 percent of the participants with a submedian genetic score had severe MPB, and 39 percent had no hair loss.

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"It was interesting to find that numerous genetic signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers", Hagenaars said in a statement.

Earlier studies have also pointed to the fact that the X chromosomes were responsible for the hair loss in men. Many of these genes, they explain, are associated with hair structure and development - which is likely why they are associated with hair loss - while other genes associated with more hair loss were linked to shorter stature, fewer offspring, and a lower risk of bipolar disorder. "However, these results take us one step closer", study co-author Riccardo Marioni, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, said in a statement.

Men like Prince William, who lose their hair at around the same time as their father did, may be unsurprised to learn that 80 per cent of male pattern baldness is passed down in our genes. One of the genes on the X chromosome - the gene for the androgen receptor, which binds to the hormone testosterone - was strongly linked with severe hair loss.

Scottish scientists out of the University of Edinburgh say that they've narrowed down more than 200 genetic regions tied to male baldness. "The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss".

Scientists analyzed the genomic and health data of more than 52,000 men enrolled in the UK Biobank - an worldwide health resource offering health information on more than 500,000 individuals. The findings could provide possible targets for drug development to treat baldness, according to the researchers.

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