Scientists discover paternal baldness gene
Once they discover how the gene influences hair growth, it will be possible to consider therapies that thwart the effect.
Bonn, Germany -- Scientists say they have found at last the gene that causes some men to go prematurely bald like their fathers.
The same team discovered a baldness gene three years ago that can only be passed on by women to their sons, which would explain why some men's hair loss resembles that of their maternal grandfathers.
Now the geneticists at the German universities of Bonn and Dusseldorf have zeroed in on a gene that both fathers and mothers can pass to their sons, which would explain commonly noticed father-son resemblances in hair thinning.
A group of British scientists discovered the gene at almost the same moment. Both jointly published the findings Sunday in the online edition of Nature Genetics.
The Bonn team led by Axel Hillmer studied more than 500,000 genetic markers as they hunted for features that were common in men who go bald in middle age or earlier.
Once they discover how the gene influences hair growth, it will be possible to consider therapies that thwart the effect. Hillmer's team cautioned that other genes were also potentially involved, making the problem complex.