Dissection of genetic variation and evidence for pleiotropy in male pattern baldness.
Yap CX., Sidorenko J., Wu Y., Kemper KE., Yang J., Wray NR., Robinson MR., Visscher PM.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a sex-limited, age-related, complex trait. We study MPB genetics in 205,327 European males from the UK Biobank. Here we show that MPB is strongly heritable and polygenic, with pedigree-heritability of 0.62 (SE = 0.03) estimated from close relatives, and SNP-heritability of 0.39 (SE = 0.01) from conventionally-unrelated males. We detect 624 near-independent genome-wide loci, contributing SNP-heritability of 0.25 (SE = 0.01), of which 26 X-chromosome loci explain 11.6%. Autosomal genetic variance is enriched for common variants and regions of lower linkage disequilibrium. We identify plausible genetic correlations between MPB and multiple sex-limited markers of earlier puberty, increased bone mineral density (rg = 0.15) and pancreatic β-cell function (rg = 0.12). Correlations with reproductive traits imply an effect on fitness, consistent with an estimated linear selection gradient of -0.018 per MPB standard deviation. Overall, we provide genetic insights into MPB: a phenotype of interest in its own right, with value as a model sex-limited, complex trait.