Sunday, October 12, 2008

Genes which predict baldness?   posted by Razib @ 10/12/2008 05:58:00 PM

Male-pattern baldness susceptibility locus at 20p11:
We conducted a genome-wide association study for androgenic alopecia in 1,125 men and identified a newly associated locus at chromosome 20p11.22, confirmed in three independent cohorts (n = 1,650; OR = 1.60, P = 1.1 10-14 for rs1160312). The one man in seven who harbors risk alleles at both 20p11.22 and AR (encoding the androgen receptor) has a sevenfold-increased odds of androgenic alopecia (OR = 7.12, P = 3.7 10-15).

ScienceDaily has a somewhat amusing headline, Baldness Gene Discovered: 1 In 7 Men At Risk:
"I would presume male pattern baldness is caused by the same genetic variation in non-caucasians," said Richards, an assistant professor in genetic epidemiology, "but we haven't studied those populations, so we can't say for certain."

Well, the SNP at 20p11 exhibits different frequencies of the alleles across the HapMap populations (Europeans are the outgroup to Africans and Asians, just as they are to a great extent on the phenotype). I was amused at the use of the term "risk," I understand the technical reason, but it seems to make male pattern baldness seems like a much more problematic condition than it really is.