Scientists from University of Western Australia claim to have identified new genes tied to loss of bone mineral density and osteoporosis.
According to molecular geneticist and study author Associate Professor Scott Wilson of the University of Western Australia, low bone mineral density is the strongest predictor of osteoporotic fracture.
He suggests that the new finding may lead to a diagnostic test in the not too distant future.
The researchers analysed the data from five previous smaller studies with the help of high tech 'gene chips'.
While looking at the sample of each participant's DNA and bone mineral density, they found 20 genetic regions, known as loci, with a strong association to bone mineral density.
Wilson said it is the technology of the gene chips that has really revolutionised the study of genes.
"It's amazing that we came up with so many loci with such convincing evidence," ABC Science quoted Wilson as saying.
"One in three women and one in five men have a lifetime risk of developing osteoporosis," he added.
Wilson said of the 20 loci found to have a strong association, 13 were identified for the first time.
He hopes the study will help scientists develop a diagnostic kit to identify individuals genetically susceptible to osteoporosis.
The study appears in Nature Genetics.