Many young men still boasting a full head of hair may not want to know if they are set to lose it.
Before the new study, by researchers at Edinburgh University and published in the journal PLOS Genetics, only a handful of genes related to baldness had been identified. Science is getting closer to those treatments with the more than 250 new genetic variants that have just been linked to severe hair loss. As of now, the scientists can't confidently predict results for individuals, but they can "identify subgroups of the population for which the risk of hair loss is much higher", lending to the belief that the algorithm will continue to improve.
Among those with a genetic score in the top 10 per cent however, 58 per cent reported moderate to severe hair loss. Most are fated to at least have their hair thin out.
The study's principal investigator, Dr Riccardo Marioni, added: "We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual's hair loss pattern". The University of Edinburgh scientists examined genomic and health data from over 52,000 male participants of the UK Biobank, performing a genome-wide association study of baldness.
More than 200 new genetic markers linked with male pattern baldness have been identified, according to a new study from the United Kingdom.
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A study in PLOS Genetics says the genes were identified by analyzing data from more than 52,000 men between 40 and 69 years old, and can be used to predict baldness.
The findings greatly increase the number of known genetic markers linked with baldness in men; a previous large study identified just eight such markers. Women can also be affected by hair loss and it is called female pattern hair loss. According to the study, for instance, there is "a degree of overlap" between hair and height, with balder men tending toward a shorter stature. Part of the formula was based on genetic markers that were absent or present in the genes.
Numerous genetic variations were located on or near genes that have previously been linked with hair growth, hair graying or the biological structures involved in making hair, the researchers said.
These could be potential targets for drug development to treat baldness or related conditions.
Previously genes have been found to link baldness with prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. The genetic signals for male pattern baldness come from the x chromosome which originates from the mother.