MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: What is the current thinking on the inheritance pattern of male baldness?

Date: Wed May 9 18:36:29 2001
Posted By: Michael S. Robeson II, Grad student, Dept. of Biology, University of South Florida
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 989378705.Ge

     Actually the fact that male pattern baldness is a result of a gene 
past on from the mother has been known well before the big push for the 
human genome project. Also, male pattern baldness is NOT a dominant 
autosomal gene. In fact it is a recessive gene on the X chromosome (sex 
chromosome). If you are a male you have one X chromosome and one Y 
chromosome. Thus, for males, if you have one X chromosome and the recessive 
gene on that X chromosome you will have pattern baldness (or whatever 
recessive trait). 
     Females can have pattern baldness as well but they would need  
recessive alleles (alternate form of a gene)on both of their X chromosomes 
(again females are XX and males are XY,) this is why baldness in women is 
rare. Females at least have that extra X to save them from a recessive 
allele on the other chromosome.
     If you remember each parent donates one sex chromosome to their 
offspring. Thus if you are a male we KNOW the Y chromosome came from your 
father (because in humans it is the sperm from the male that determins the 
sex of the offspring - males make both X and Y carrying sperm)and the X 
came from your mother. The allele for pattern baldness is carried on the X 
chromosome that means you would inherit pattern baldness from your mother.
     Below is a few links that explain what I said in a variety of ways. I 
hope they help.

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