Gene for baldness found

10 April 2014
Posted by Kat Arney.

From snake oil creams to hair transplants, men around the world are keen for a cure for baldness. But while there's still no cure for male pattern baldness, researchers have made a step forward in understanding the gene fault lying behind a rare balding condition called "atrichia with papular lesions".

Writing in The FASEB Journal, US researchers have shown that a gene called Hairless plays a crucial role in controlling when other genes are switched on and off. It does this by removing tiny molecular tags, called methyl groups, from the proteins that package up DNA, known as histones.  The scientists hope their discovery will open up new avenues for developing treatments for rare forms of hair loss as well as skin diseases including skin cancer.

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