We conducted a genome-wide association study for age at natural menopause in 2,979 European women and identified six SNPs in three loci associated with age at natural menopause: chromosome 19q13.4 (rs1172822; –0.4 year per T allele (39%); P = 6.3 × 10−11), chromosome 20p12.3 (rs236114; +0.5 year per A allele (21%); P = 9.7 × 10−11) and chromosome 13q34 (rs7333181; +0.5 year per A allele (12%); P = 2.5 × 10−8). These common genetic variants regulate timing of ovarian aging, an important risk factor for breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

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This study was funded by the European Commision (HEALTH-F2-2008-201865, GEFOS; HEALTH-F2-2008-35627, TREAT-OA), Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research NWO Investments (nr. 175.010.2005.011, 911-03-012), Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (014-93-015; RIDE2) and the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI)/Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) project nr. 050-060-810. We thank P. Arp, M. Jhamai, M. Moorhouse, M. Verkerk and S. Bervoets for their help in creating the GWAS-database. The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII) and the Municipality of Rotterdam. TwinsUK is supported by the Wellcome Trust from the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre award to Guy's & St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King's College London and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The LASA study is largely funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports of The Netherlands. The PROSPECT-Frailty study was funded by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZON) no. 2100.0011.

We thank K. Lunetta for helpful discussion. The authors are very grateful to the study participants and staff from the Rotterdam Study and the TwinsUK, EPOS, PROSPECT-Frailty and LASA studies.

Author information

Author notes

    • Lisette Stolk
    • , Guangju Zhai
    • , Tim D Spector
    •  & André G Uitterlinden

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Departments of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Lisette Stolk
    • , Joyce B J van Meurs
    • , Michael M P J Verbiest
    • , Jenny A Visser
    • , Karol Estrada
    • , Fernando Rivadeneira
    • , Corinne E I Lebrun
    • , Huibert A P Pols
    •  & André G Uitterlinden
  2. Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Lisette Stolk
    • , Fernando Rivadeneira
    • , Jacqueline Witteman
    • , Albert Hofman
    •  & André G Uitterlinden
  3. The Netherlands Genomics Initiative–sponsored Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Aging (NGI-NCHA), Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Lisette Stolk
    • , Joyce B J van Meurs
    • , Jacqueline Witteman
    • , Albert Hofman
    •  & André G Uitterlinden
  4. Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, London, UK.

    • Guangju Zhai
    • , Frances M Williams
    • , Lynn Cherkas
    •  & Tim D Spector
  5. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK.

    • Panos Deloukas
    •  & Nicole Soranzo
  6. Research Unit, Diagnostic Center Eindhoven, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

    • Jules J de Keyzer
  7. Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

    • Victor J M Pop
  8. Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrine Section, and EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Paul Lips
  9. Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.

    • Corinne E I Lebrun
    • , Yvonne T van der Schouw
    •  & Diederick E Grobbee
  10. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Joop S E Laven


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L.S., G.Z., T.D.S. and A.G.U. designed the study. L.S. and M.M.P.J.V. did the genotyping of the replication studies. P.D. and N.S. did the genotyping for the TwinsUK study. N.S. did the quality control for the TwinsUK data. L.S., G.Z., J.B.J.v.M. and K.E. did the statistical analyses. L.S., G.Z., J.B.J.v.M., J.A.V., F.R., J.S.E.L., T.D.S. and A.G.U. helped with the interpretation of the results. L.S., G.Z., J.B.J.v.M., J.A.V., F.R., T.D.S. and A.G.U. prepared the manuscript and the revision of the manuscript. F.M.W., A.H. and H.A.P.P. critically revised the manuscript. A.H., J.W., H.A.P.P. and A.G.U. were involved in the sample and phenotype collection of the Rotterdam Study. F.M.W. and L.C. were involved in the phenotype collection of the TwinsUK Study. J.J.d.K., V.J.M.P., P.L., C.E.I.L., Y.T.v.d.S. and D.E.G. were involved in the sample and data collection of the replication studies.

Note: Supplementary information is available on the Nature Genetics website.

Competing interests

L.S., G.Z., T.D.S. and A.G.U. are involved in a patent application based on the results of the work in this manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to André G Uitterlinden.

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