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Approved research

Systematic insights into the genetic basis of male-pattern baldness

Principal Investigator: Dr Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach
Approved Research ID: 24661
Approval date: April 15th 2017

Lay summary

Male-pattern baldness (MPB) is a highly heritable trait and the most common form of hair loss among men. Despite recent advances, a significant fraction of the overall heritable risk for MPB still awaits identification and the pathobiology remains incompletely understood. This project aims at the identification of contributing genetic risk factors within and across ethnicities. The results of this research will benefit our understanding of the underlying pathobiology and may lead to an improved prediction of MPB risk and the identification of novel drug targets. Early-onset MPB in particular can exert profound negative effects on quality of life. While the pathobiology of MPB remains incompletely understood and no causal therapy is available, current MBP treatments are of limited efficacy in many patients and even can have severe adverse effects. Therefore, studies that clarify the biological underpinnings of key pathophysiological features of MPB and enable the identification of novel molecular targets for more effective therapeutic intervention are needed. The proposed research therefore fits within the UK Biobank?s stated objective to ?improve the prevention, diagnosis, and promotion of health throughout society?. The proposed project will use statistical analyses (genome-wide association testing) to identify genetic markers, genes and biological pathways that play a role in MPB development. The required phenotypic values (balding pattern 1-4) are available for ~225,000 individuals, we anticipate that genotypes will be available for the majority of these individuals, enabling us to run exceptionally well powered analyses.