Menopause is defined as the age-dependent permanent cessation of menstruation and ovulation due to ovarian failure. Menopause occurs on average around the age of 51 years. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 44 genetic variants that are associated with age of onset of natural menopause. Genes linked with menopause can be classified into three major groups: genes implicated in genome stability (DNA repair), immune function and mitochondrial biogenesis. Biological and epidemiological data indicate that reproductive performance, age at menopause and longevity are interlinked through common genetic factors, which play a pivotal role in DNA repair and genome maintenance, which has been linked before with the process of ageing. Consequently, ageing of the soma as a result of inefficient DNA repair appears also to be responsible for failure to reproduce and the subsequent occurrence of menopause. In this way reproductive performance may be strongly linked to the physical condition of the soma and may be a very good predictor of general health in later life.

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Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Laven, J., Visser, J., Uitterlinden, A., Vermeij, W., & Hoeijmakers, J. (2016). Menopause: Genome stability as new paradigm. Maturitas (Vol. 92, pp. 15–23). doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.07.006