Chromosome 20 Involved in Male Pattern Baldness

Chromosome 20 Involved in Male Pattern Baldness

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted October 13, 2008 in DNA Testing, DNA and Disease

Evil doll by Helge CarlsenConsumers of genetic testing can now get more information on male pattern baldness from chromosome 20. A genetic test specific for hair loss is already on the market – HairDX. It examines CAG repeats in the androgen receptor gene (AR) on the X chromosome. According to Technology Review, in one study of 2,000 balding men and women, 1 in 7 Caucasian men had markers on both chromosome 20 and the X chromosome that increased their risk of baldness.

Lest you think baldness is a purely cosmetic concern, there is a link between male pattern baldness and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. In 2000, the Physicians’ Health Study found that “vertex pattern baldness is a marker for increased risk of coronary heart disease events, especially among men with hypertension or high cholesterol levels.”

Interestingly, the HairDX website makes no mention of the link between hair loss and heart disease. Perhaps because they don’t want to run into trouble for making any innuendos about the medical utility of their DNA test. However, with this bit of information in mind, I’m less likely to make jokes at their expense.

Photo credit: Helge Carlsen

(5 comments)


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5 Comments

Comment by Randy

All the men in my family are bald. I guess now I’m going to be asking them to get checkups for high blood pressure, high cholesteral, heart problems and diabetes! Thanks for the heads up!

 
Comment by Marilyn

Very informative. My father, and my hubby, and my sons all were/are balding men. I’ll have a talk with them about their health. My hubby has high blood pressure.

 

[...] understanding of male pattern baldness broadens with recent findings that associate chromosome 20 to hair loss, a disorder that traditionally has been known as sex-linked. Eye on DNA also mentions that hair [...]

 
Comment by mikej

Thanks for this post! I was just looking for info about this after reading it here and on a few other sites and I found this site really helpful:

http://www.accessdna.com/info/condition.aspx?topic=25

The site is called Access DNA (www.accessdna.com), and they had a bunch of info that was really easy to understand – they also provide links to helpful resources.

 
Comment by Amy

They said a study of men and women. Does this mean women inherit balding in the same way and the same genes?

 

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