Science Daily reports that at the University of Helsinki researchers were looking into hairlessness in dogs. Such an effect can be caused by breeding or in some cases a defect. The researchers found a gene in the Scottish Deerhound that causes hairlessness. The gene is called SGK3 and because of the gene defect puppies are born with very thin hair that is eventually lost in the following weeks. They focused on the Deerhound because normally they have longer coarser hair but every so often a litter is born bald. No other significant effects have been observed because of the defect.
Enzymes are coded that control the hair cycle using SGK3. But the researchers have yet to figure out the specific mechanisms associated with it. Although they did find that the same gene that causes Deerhounds to be bald also does the same thing in the American Hairless Terrier. But in that breed hairlessness is a desired trait.
The researchers highly encourage others out there to research that genes role in human baldness as well.