Social selection favours offspring prone to the development of androgenetic alopecia

J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2017 Oct-Dec;31(4):1013-1016.


In recent years, dermatologists have observed an increase in the incidence of male androgenetic alopecia (AGA). In a survey of 41 dermatologists, 88% reported an increase in incidence of AGA in men younger than 30 years. This phenomenon has no apparent explanation. However, due to the strong genetic inheritance component of AGA, a social or environmental factor which favours the inheritance of genes that increase the risk of developing AGA is suspected. To date, the strongest predictor of AGA in men has been the length of the CAG repeat located in the androgen receptor gene (AR gene) on the X chromosome. The same genetic variant in women is associated with ovulation at a later age, higher antral follicle count, and lower risk for premature ovarian failure. This led us to theorize that, due to social pressure to conceive later in life, women carriers of the short CAG repeat in the AR gene would have a selective advantage to conceive later in life and would thus favour male offspring exhibiting AGA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alopecia / diagnosis
  • Alopecia / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fertilization / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Inheritance*
  • Ovarian Follicle / cytology
  • Ovarian Follicle / physiology
  • Ovulation / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / chemistry
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Trinucleotide Repeats


  • Receptors, Androgen