Test to predict baldness is on the way

Bald man

GETTYThe chances of going bald have been uncovered by a study involving more than 52,000 men

A genomic study of baldness identified more than 200 genetic regions involved in this common but potentially embarrassing condition.

The research has discovered the genetics underlying male pattern baldness. This study represents the largest study for baldness to date, according to the study in PLOS Genetics.

While the ability to predict an individual's chances of baldness is a little way off, the researchers can now identify sub-groups of the population at greater risk. This adds further and substantial evidence that baldness is, at least in part, influenced by the genetics of a man's mother.

Among those with a genetic score in the top 10 per cent however, 58 per cent reported moderate to severe hair loss.

"It was interesting to find that numerous genetic signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers". About 16,700 of the men do not have any issues with baldness, while 12,000 of the men have slight hair loss and 14,000 others have moderate hair loss, with 9,800 victims of severe hair loss, NBC News explained. More to the point for those anxious about it is the second half of this sentence: "The results of this study might help identify those at greatest risk of hair loss, and also potential genetic targets for intervention", says a study co-author, per NBC News. In men, the loss of hair is seen as a receding hairline.

Scientists analyzed the genomic and health data of more than 52,000 men enrolled in the UK Biobank - an global health resource offering health information on more than 500,000 individuals. "However, these results take us one step closer", says Ricardo Marioni, co-author of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine.

The team of researchers also managed to create a formula that will help them loosely predict the chances of a person going bald, The Sun UK reports.

The researchers noted that in the study, they did not collect information on the age at which the men started losing their hair. The androgen receptor gene which helps produce testosterone has also been proven to have a direct link with acute hair loss. "The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss". Based on the genetic variants that separated those with no hair loss from those with severe hair loss, the team designed an algorithm aimed to predict who would develop MPB. They could provide possible targets for drug development to treat baldness or related conditions.

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