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Baldness Gene: Do Your Genes Cause Hair Loss?

The baldness gene is polygenic, researchers found 287 different genes that are associated with balding. 

The most significant gene found in every study is the androgen receptor (AR) gene

Studies show that the baldness gene is responsible for 80% of the Androgenetic Alopecia, which is also known as male or female pattern baldness. 

Here are some of the key points from the article:

  • BALDNESS IS POLYGENIC.
  • IT IS HEREDITARY.
  • ANDROGEN RECEPTOR IS CONSIDERED AS THE PRIMARY BALDNESS GENE.
  • BALDNESS DOESN’T SKIP EVERY OTHER GENERATION.
  • SEXUAL SELECTION CAN BE THE REASON OF BALDING IN MEN.
  • TREATMENTS CAN STOP IT.
  • THE BALDNESS GENE CAN START TO SHOW ITS EFFECT AFTER PUBERTY.
  • IT MAY BE COMING FROM NEANDERTHALS. 

What Is the Baldness Gene?

The most prominent gene that determines baldness is the androgen receptor (AR) gene. However, baldness is a polygenic condition, meaning there is not only a single gene for baldness.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburg which examines the genetic prediction of AGA found 287 male pattern baldness genes that may be responsible for balding.

Where Does the Baldness Gene Come from?

The baldness gene comes from the X chromosome or autosomes (the ones that are not sex chromosomes).

Until now, the baldness gene was thought to come with only the X chromosome. However, studies found other genes that may be responsible for baldness on autosomes, which means the baldness gene can come with any chromosome. 

How Does Genetics Work?

The chromosomes come together with the egg and sperm. Each of them carries 23 chromosomes, forming the 46 chromosomes of the fetus. The baldness gene is transferred through the genes while the fetus is formed. 

The baldness gene is hereditary. The AR gene or the other baldness genes are transmitted genetically from parents to children. We got 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 from our father, and the baldness gene can be carried through any of them.

How Is It Transmitted?

The baldness gene is hereditary. The AR gene or the other baldness genes are transmitted genetically from parents to children. The babies get the chromosomes from their mothers and fathers, and the genes are carried through them.

Which Parent Carries the Baldness Gene?

Both mother and father may be carrying the baldness gene. Even though the most prominent baldness gene is carried on the X chromosome, there are also other genes on autosomes that may be responsible for baldness. 

Is Baldness a Dominant Gene?

Baldness is thought to be a dominant gene in men but a recessive gene in women. However, this statement primarily depends on a study conducted in 1916.

Back then, the baldness gene was known as a single gene.

Now studies show there are variants of the baldness gene, which makes this statement insignificant.

Does the Baldness Gene Skip Every Other Generation?

No, the baldness gene doesn’t skip every other generation. While it can skip generations, there is no study that proves this will always happen.

How to Know Your Children Will Go Bald

Since balding is associated with genes, if you, your partner, or your parents have balding, your children are more likely to have it.

As a variety of genes can play a role in the process of going bald, you cannot know for sure if your children will go bald or not. However, they have a high chance of having balding.

Why Is There a Gene for Baldness?

In terms of human evolution, a gene for baldness may have evolved for sexual selection.

Research on the evolutionary importance and interpersonal perception of androgenetic alopecia suggests that women see baldness in men as a sign of maturity and wisdom, which can make men more appealing. You can think of it like aging makes men gain social status. 

A theory suggests that balding helps men to keep vitamin D levels higher, which can protect men from getting sick because of a vitamin D deficiency. There is no study that proves it.

On the contrary, a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia which aims to find the association between the degree of baldness and vitamin D levels failed to find a positive connection between balding and health. 

Is Baldness a Bad Gene?

It shouldn’t be right to call the baldness gene either bad or good. A gene can be considered a bad gene if a gene causes health problems.

The baldness gene causes hair loss which is a disorder, but it doesn’t necessarily come with a serious medical condition.

If You Have the Baldness Gene What Age Do Go Bald?

Even though there are children who have genetic hair loss, the balding usually starts to be seen after puberty. This means it can start in the 20’s but it doesn’t mean you go completely bald at that age. The severity of the balding increases with age.

Where Does the Baldness Gene Come from the Start?

The baldness gene may be coming from Neanderthals.

A recent study published in 2021 which examines 400 different genetic features and their association with Neanderthal introgression found that the baldness gene may have originated from Neanderthals.

In simple words, when modern humans and Neanderthals interbred, the Neanderthals may be carrying the baldness gene and humans may get it from them. It looks like we may blame caveman genes for baldness.

Is There Anything to Stop the Baldness Gene?

The baldness gene can be stopped by using certain medications. Minoxidil and finasteride are beneficial medications that can stop genetic hair loss.

They prevent further loss of hair and try to bring back the old condition of the hair if possible. 

How Gene Therapy Might Be Used to Treat Baldness?

Gene therapy is a kind of treatment that makes changes in the genes in order to treat a disease.

Simply, gene therapy can be done by replacing the disease gene with another one that is in good condition, removing the problematic gene, or adding a new gene. 

In terms of balding, gene therapy can work by replacing the genes that cause balding with the beneficial genes for hair or introducing genes that can prolong the anagen phase (growing).

Currently, gene therapy is not used to treat the gene for baldness but it could become a reality in the future. 

Does Hedgehog Pathway Treatment Work for Baldness?

Yes, Hedgehog pathway treatment can work for baldness. The Hedgehog signaling pathway is a channel that transmits information within cells. This transmission makes tissue renewal, repair, and regeneration possible. 

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Urvine published on Developmental Cell found that the hedgehog signaling pathway plays an important role in hair growth, and it can be a new treatment for androgenetic alopecia (also known as female or male pattern baldness) by increasing the activity of SCUBE3 signaling molecule on dermal papilla cells. 

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