Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss. Its pathogenesis is androgen dependent, and genetic predisposition is the major requirement for the phenotype. We demonstrate that genetic variability in the androgen receptor gene (AR) is the cardinal prerequisite for the development of early-onset AGA, with an etiological fraction of 0.46. The investigation of a large number of genetic variants covering the AR locus suggests that a polyglycine-encoding GGN repeat in exon 1 is a plausible candidate for conferring the functional effect. The X-chromosomal location of AR stresses the importance of the maternal line in the inheritance of AGA.