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The third Africa Genome Initiative Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on March 22 - 24 2005

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The programme for A Time to Heal


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The Colour of Our Skins: Biology Meets Society'

A public lecture by Professor Wilmot James, Convenor of the Africa Genome Initiative, was held at the Mount Nelson, Cape Town, on October 26 2004

Chair: Professor Jakes Gerwel, Chairperson of the Human Sciences Research Council.

Respondents: Dr Neville Alexander, Director of PRAESA, University of Cape Town
Professor Trefor Jenkins, NHLS, University of the Witwatersrand
Professor Raj Ramesar, Head, Division of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town
Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank



Download a copy of the presentation here

The Colour of Our Skins: Biology Meets Society


A copy of the full paper will be available shortly


The second Africa Genome Initiative Conference was held in Cairo at the Mena House Hotel between 26 and 29 March 2004.
Learn more about:
bullet The objectives and programme
bullet Read The Daily Genome
bullet Conference convenors and speakers
bullet Conference sponsors and associates
bullet Fellowships for African delegates
bullet 2003 Conference at Spier Estate, South Africa


The Africa Genome Initiative examines the historical, ethical and legal, educational, bio-medical and bio-technological implications of the Human Genome Project for Research and Development in Africa.
Learn more about:
bullet The Genome in Africa
bullet The Africa Genome Initiative
bullet What are genomes, and why do they matter?
bullet The role of the HSRC and Ain Shams
bullet On-line magazines and newsletters


For easier downloading, the journal has been divided into four parts

bulletRead The Journal of Genomics and African Society part 1

bulletRead The Journal of Genomics and African Society part 2

bulletRead The Journal of Genomics and African Society part 3

bulletRead The Journal of Genomics and African Society part 4


The Journal of Genomics and African Society is a peer-reviewed publication of the Africa Genome Initiative.

The Editor in Chief, Wilmot James, works with the prestigious editorial board of Trefor Jenkins, University of the Witwatersrand (Chairperson); Wagida Anwar, Ain Shams
University-Egypt; Sydney Brenner, SALK Institute-California; Winston Hide, University of the
Western Cape; Muntassa Ibrahim University of Khartoum-Sudan; Phelix Majiwa
International Livestock Research Institute-Kenya; Gabriel Ogunmola, Nigerian Academy of
Sciences; Tikki Pang World Health Organisation; Raj Ramesar, University of Cape Town; and
Himla Soodyall University of the Witwatersrand.

The scientists have revealed the truth regarding inherited hair loss

During this genome conference that took place in Africa, the scientists have demonstrated that some forms of hair loss occur because of genes. Androgenetic alopecia is, accordingly to http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgenetic-alopecia, a frequent type of hair loss that affects both men and women.
The AR gene is related to androgenetic alopecia. Despite the fact that alopecia is a common cause of hair loss in women and men, it is more often in men. The risk of being affected by hair loss increases with age, while the lifestyle, stress and nutrition could have an impact as well.
But the scientists sustained at the genetics conference that most of the factors that lead to hair loss are unknown. Androgenetic alopecia is also associated with the levels of the hormones known as androgens, especially with dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
Provillus has been designed to support men and women affected by androgenetic alopecia. Having a powerful formula with natural ingredients that prevent, slow and stop the process of hair loss, Provillus from www.Provillus.org improves the appearance of scalp and nourishes the follicles so the hair will grow healthy.
Androgens are crucial for the normal development of the reproductive system in men before birth and in the course of puberty. But this chemical also normalizes the libido and the development of hair.
The development of hair starts in the follicles found beneath the skin. Normally, every strand of hair grows for two – six years, enters in a resting stage that lasts a few months then falls of the scalp. The cycle starts over when new hair starts developing. But high levels of androgens in the follicles reduce the lifespan of follicles, while the hairs will grow thinner and finer. Even more, the resting stage will last longer and it will take more time to grow again new hair.
Researchers have shown at the Africa genome conference that variations in AR gene have been found in men and women affected by hair loss. This gene offers directions for producing a protein known as androgen receptor. Androgen receptors enable the organism to respond properly to DHT and other androgens. But the variations in AR gene trigger an enhanced activity of the receptors in hair follicles.
It is not clear how androgenetic alopecia is inherited, because there are involved numerous environmental and genetic factors. Having a close family member with baldness can be considered a risk factor for developing androgenetic alopecia.
In addition, researchers have stated that it is not quite known how the prostate cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome or coronary heart disease are linked to increased levels of androgens, but people with these conditions are likely to lose their hair.
Alopecia or hair loss does not appear only due to genes, but aging, stress, medications, drugs, nutrition and lifestyle also play important roles. It is important to lead a healthy and active life in order to maintain the general health and a beautiful appearance of scalp. Hair loss can be prevented with proper care and a balanced lifestyle.

    Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation