Healthy DNA and the timing of menopause

Could there be a link between DNA health and the age of menopause?

Researchers from around the world led by scientists from the UK sought out to determine what genes determine the timing of menopause. Their findings were recently published in journal Nature Genetics. After looking at numerous human genes, they found that ones most closely associated with the age of menopause were actually the ones that control the repair of DNA. Like the rest of our body, our genes (which are made up largely of DNA) are constantly being attacked by the environment and they require repair mechanisms in order to keep them healthy. Abnormalties in these repair systems can sometimes explain how certain types of cancers develop in some people but not others.

It now turns out that the effectiveness of these repair systems may also determine how old you are when the period stops. More importantly, it may help us figure out why women who have low ovarian reserve (an estimate of the number of eggs remaining) and lose their fertility at a young age while others remain fertile into their mid 40's. With that understanding, we may be able to someday either prevent this type fertility loss or at least determine which women would most benefit from having their eggs frozen before it's too late.