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Genes behind timing of menopause identified

London, Tue, 24 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 24 (ANI): Researchers have identified 13 new regions of genes, which can help in predicting the onset of menopause.

 

These genes shed light on the biological pathways involved in reproductive lifespan and will provide insights into conditions connected to menopause, such as breast cancer and heart disease.

 

Menopause is a major hormonal change that affects most women when they are in their early 50s. The timing of menopause can have a huge impact on fertility, as well as influencing the risk of a range of common diseases such as breast cancer. It has been known for some time that genetic factors influenced the onset of menopause, however until recently very few genes had been identified.

 

In the new study, Dr Anna Murray, University of Exeter, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD) Dr John Perry, PCMD and WTCHG, University of Oxford, and dozens of international collaborators, examined the genomes of over 50,000 women.

 

They identified 13 novel gene regions associated with menopause onset, and confirmed four previously identified. Most of the 17 regions include genes related to DNA damage/repair or the immune system, whilst others are linked to hormonal regulation.

 

"The new findings highlight biological pathways not previously associated with reproductive lifespan, and may provide insights into the other conditions connected with menopause age, such as cardiovascular disease and breast cancer," said Dr Perry.

 

"Menopause is a process most women go through, yet we know very little about what governs the timing of this key event in a woman's life.

 

"By finding out which genes control the timing of menopause we hope to be able understand why this happens very early to some women, reducing their chances of having children naturally," Dr Perry added.

 

The study has been recently published in the journal Nature Genetics. (ANI)

 


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