Although the procedure for hair cloning is still being studied, it appears that the favored option is to first clone some hair follicle cells in a test tube or Petri dish and then carefully position these cells in the scalp. The placement of these cells should encourage them to grow into a functional hair follicle and so produce a terminal (viable) hair. Therefore, during a ‘hair cloning procedure’ it is just follicle cells that are ‘transplanted’, not fully functional hair follicles (as presently occurs with surgical hair replacement). This means that the scientists have to 1) wait to see if these cells will grow into a follicle, 2) see if the follicle is able to produce a terminal hair strand, 3) see if the follicle goes through a proper cycle (growing and resting–which takes an average of 3 years), and 4) see if the follicle produces a new terminal hair strand after the original hair has fallen out. Also, the hair follicle needs to grow as a unit with sebaceous (oil) glands present for the hair not to be too dry.
The reason why this procedure hasn’t yet been ‘approved’ by the medical authorities is that some of these objectives are proving more difficult to achieve than at first thought.
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