Will I Go Bald? Genetic Study Shows Complex Answer
Genetics of male pattern baldness. University of Edinburgh researchers found 287 genes linked with hair lossDouglas Robertson, University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology / PLoS Genetics
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Researchers searching for the genetic roots of hair loss say they’ve found more than 280 different genes are involved.
And they’ve come up with a formula that can predict a man’s risk of losing his hair, although it’s too soon to say there could be a blood test to forecast whether and when a man would start losing his hair.
It turns out that hair loss is very complicated genetically, the British team reports in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Genetics.
“In this large genome-wide association study study of male pattern baldness, we identified 287 independent genetic signals that were linked to differences in the trait,” Riccardo Marioni and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh wrote.
However, it’s possible to predict whether a man will lose hair with pretty good certainty. Most are fated to at least have their hair thin out. “Male pattern baldness affects around 80 percent of men by the age of 80 years,” the researchers wrote.
"We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual's hair loss pattern,” Marioni said in a statement.
“However, these results take us one step closer. The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss."
Maggie Fox is a senior writer for NBC News and TODAY, covering health policy, science, medical treatments and disease.