Genes generally control menopause in women. Many women will be aware that they probably started their menopause at around the same age as their mother or sister. But the link between the menopause and genetics has not been established by scientific evidence till now.
Researchers in Utrecht and Wageningen in the Netherlands have collected data from 243 non-twin sisters in 118 families already participating in a breast cancer screening project. They also collected data from twin sisters. They found that the age of reaching menopause is 85-87 per cent down to genetic factors in non-twins, and 70 to 71 per cent genetic in twins.
Researchers collected DNA from the sisters in order to identify the genes that control menopause. In future it might be possible that a DNA test may be able to tell a woman exactly when she will have her menopause and this may enable her to make more informed choices about when to start a family and how to plan her career. The average age of menopause is 51, but some women stop menstruating much earlier or much later. But they say that however, it is unlikely for gene therapy to control the age of menopause because there are probably many different genes involved.