Menopause marks an upper limit of a female’s reproductive period. It is one of the key physiological events in female life and has a pronounced effect on postmenopausal health. Age at natural menopause (ANM) has been associated with many health problems and therefore attracted much attention in the last two decades. As a complex trait, ANM is determined by many genetic and environmental factors and their interactions. During last two decades, large efforts have been made to determine a genetic basis of natural menopause and its timing, which allowed for identifying a number of candidate genes and genomic regions. However, the problem is still far from its solution. The systems approach, which incorporates candidate gene association studies, genome-wide association studies, linkage analysis, gene expression microarrays and proteomics in a single pipeline, may open new venues and greatly advance progress in this area.
Keywords: Age at natural menopause, genetic factors, genome-wide association, candidate genes, linkage, microarrays, systems approach.