Hair has been a symbol of beauty and status throughout history. People have come up with different methods of caring for their crowning glory and of styling their hair. Biological, environmental, and technological evolution, however, has caused hair problems. Complete hair loss, or baldness, is at the peak of them all, and people are constantly searching on various solutions.
The great thing about evolution is that it comes with invention and innovation. There are now several countermeasures and preventive steps for hair loss; the most recent one being hair transplantation, the precursor to hair cloning. The best thing to do about the current technological trends is to review and research on all the methods available.
Cloning and Its Hair Application
Cloning is a method that allows the production of genetic duplicates of an entity. All the characteristics of the “source” are carried over to its “copies,” allowing the latter to function the same way as the former. Cloning can be done naturally or artificially. Artificial cloning relies heavily on science, technology, and human intervention.
The idea behind hair cloning is that a patch of skin with healthy hair can be taken from a host, duplicated several times, and transplanted back to the host. It sounds easy, but the reality is this idea has met a lot of challenges so far. Probably the biggest challenge with the idea of hair cloning is the duplication of the patch of skin that hosts the healthy hairs. There are several elements that scientists have to deal with since they have to deal with hair, hair follicles, and skin.
The Current Approach
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that allows healthy hair, complete with its follicles, to be taken from a healthy area and transplanted to a thinning or bald spot. Several full strands are moved until the bald spot is adequately covered. This process can be tedious and local anesthetic is used to alleviate discomfort during the procedure.
The primary objective of this method is to address the bald spot. The secondary aim is that the healthy transplants would be able to cultivate the area around it, resulting in the re-activation of dead follicles or the creation of new ones. Professionals hope that this secondary objective, if successful, will rejuvenate the previously bald spot to a point where it becomes a healthy and thriving patch. If this happens, hair growth would now develop normally.
This current approach is considered to be Hair Cloning, also known as hair multiplication, even if it is still some ways off of the real goal.
The Actual Target
The ultimate goal of hair cloning is that professionals would be able to extract healthy hair follicles and create clones using test tubes. In vitro, meaning inside a glass has been used in other ways, such as in vitro fertilization. The challenge is to make sure that healthy cells survive in a glass enclosure, and be able to multiply.
Hair growth begins at the follicles. A growth patch can only happen with a healthy group of hair follicles. If the scalp is already devoid of functioning hair follicles, then no hair will grow, and the person will stay bald for the remainder of his life. If scientists are able to create copies out of a single functioning hair follicle, then all that’s left is to transplant the cloned follicles into the host’s scalp.
The main setback researchers face is that hair follicles require other factors to fully function and grow hair. The sebaceous gland, tiny muscle fibers, and a combination of metabolic reactions are all related to hair growth. This is absolutely better than the current approach as this method will replace the “hope factor” with a guaranteed chance for success.
The success of this endeavor will open new doors to organ cloning. A hair follicle is an organ, and though it may be small in comparison to other organs, it can be used as another stepping stone for bigger things. Imagine being able to clone any part of the body, both external and internal, regardless of the size. A lot of people with varying medical conditions will significantly benefit from this.
As of the moment, hair transplantation and hair multiplication is the closest thing to hair cloning. There is still a lot of work to be done, but scientists are optimistic that their efforts will come to fruition soon. Stem cell research has proven to be a valuable resource behind hair cloning. With global support and collaboration, it wouldn’t be long before we see hair cloning being finalized and approved for human use.