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article imageBaldness gene discovered

By Tim Sandle     Apr 6, 2014 in Science
A new research report explains why people with a rare balding condition called 'atrichia with papular lesions' lose their hair: it comes down to a specific gene.
The report shows for the first time that the "human hairless gene" imparts an essential role in hair biology by regulating a subset of other hair genes. This newly discovered molecular function likely explains why mutations in the hairless gene contribute to the pathogenesis of atrichia with papular lesions.
Atrichia with papular lesions is a rare genetic form of irreversible baldness with onset at a few months of age. It occurs at the same time as with papular keratin cysts over the body.
The scientists are hopeful that the genes identified in this study could open up new opportunities for developing mechanism-driven approaches for future prevention or treatment of skin diseases including skin cancer and rare forms of hair loss.
The researchers were based at the Departments of Dermatology and Genetics and Development at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, NY. The findings have been published in The FASEB Journal, in a paper titled “Hairless is a histone H3K9 demethylase”.
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