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Alopecia areata genetic study, recruitment call for Europe, Scandinavia, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore based volunteers

If you live in the USA click here

A consortium of 28 clinics in 15 countries are planning a large scale study to define general alopecia areata susceptibility and resistance genes in families of alopecia areata affected individuals.

Alopecia areata probably involves a complex interaction between several susceptibility and resistance genes plus alopecia areata activating and inhibiting environmental factors. Several research studies are underway in the USA and Europe to examine both genetic and environmental modification of alopecia areata involving human volunteers and laboratory models.

This genetic study will involve a comprehensive, genome-wide screen of DNA isolated from blood samples provided by donors. Statistical analysis of the results will provide information on areas of the human genome where genes involved in AA are located. With this information, and using data from the recently completed human genome mapping project, candidate genes can later be defined and examined in detail to evaluate how they may be involved in alopecia areata.

This study needs the participation of at least 1120 volunteers in 280 family groups to ensure reliable results. We need to obtain blood samples from at least 4 people in a family (Mother and Father and 2 children).

Specific volunteer requirements:

  1. You must have (or have had) alopecia areata and be willing to provide a blood sample.
  2. You must have a genetically related brother or sister who has (or has had) alopecia areata and is willing to provide a blood sample.
  3. You and your brother or sister must not be monozygotic twins (identical twins).
  4. It is not necessary for your genetically related mother and father to have alopecia areata, but they must be willing to each provide a blood sample.
  5. Individuals with trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome) are not able to take part in the study as the additional chromosome 21 DNA would bias the statistical analysis.
  6. You should be resident in Europe, Scandinavia, Taiwan, Australia, or Singapore. We are currently investigating methods to include individuals from other geographic regions, but at this time we have no system to collect blood or data from volunteers located outside Europe, Scandinavia, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore. If you are resident in the USA click here.

If you and your family fit the criteria above and you are all willing to take part in the study, please provide your name and your email or postal address where we can contact you to the study coordinators via the European Hair Research Society web site at All emails will be passed directly and confidentially to the study coordinators. Your information and email address will not be passed to any third party. Once we have enough volunteer families, we will contact individuals with details on how and where to submit blood samples. If you have further questions please contact the coordinators at; or

The study is coordinated by Dr Rolf Hoffmann and Freiburg University Department of Dermatology, Freiburg, Germany. The genetic screening will be conducted by the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany. Research funds are provided by the German Medical Research Council (DFG).