Researchers have identified more than 200 genetic markers that may help predict a man's chance of severe hair loss, in a study over 52,000 males.
Male pattern baldness can have substantial psychosocial effects and it has been phenotypically linked to adverse health outcomes such as prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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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.
The findings, published in PLOS Genetics, 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.
Further, the study showed-in line with a previous study, but 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.