Study identifies more than 200 genetic markers linked to male baldness


More than 200 genetic markers linked to male baldness have been identified by researchers in the UK paving way for possibility that scientists may soon be able to predict a man’s chance of severe hair loss in near future.

Researchers studied over 52,000 males to arrive at their findings, which have been published in PLOS Genetics. The authors of the study pinpointed 287 genes, many of which are related to hair structure and development, and could provide possible targets for drug development to treat baldness or related conditions. Based on the presence or absence of certain genetic markers, the researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Britain, created a formula to try and predict the chance that a person will go bald.

Researchers were able to show with much greater precision that a substantial proportion of individual differences in hair loss patterns can be explained by common genetic variants on the autosomes as well as on the X chromosome — the gene for the androgen receptor, which binds to the hormone testosterone.

“We identified hundreds of new genetic signals. It was interesting to find that many of the genetics signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers,” said Saskia Hagenaars, doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh.

“We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual’s hair loss pattern. However, these results take us one step closer. The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss,” added Riccardo Marioni from the University of Edinburgh.