Cal, the first thing everyone should know is that the term “hair cloning” is actually a misnomer. This has been pointed out numerous times, by numerous experts, and also many times here on HairSite and other sites. Companies like Intercytex don’t even use the term “hair cloning” to describe their cell-based hair regeneration procedures, because it is scientifically inaccurate.
Nonetheless, the term “hair cloning” has been used extensively in the popular media for a number of years, to refer to what we, on HairSite, call “hair multiplication”, and which companies like ICX are now calling “follicular neogenesis” or “follicular cell regeneration”.
In fact, “hair cloning” has little in common with cloning of, say, an animal or lower organism, like bacteria.
The TRC procedure is a form of cell therapy in which cells are harvested from an organ (your donor hair follicles), dissociated, cultured in vitro (in a “petri dish” or the equivalent), and then injected or re-implanted into the scalp.
By contrast, the technical, textbook definition of cloning refers to the replication of DNA, or a cell nucleus (which contains DNA), into one or more copies. The copies are then coaxed into growing into an entire new organism. For instance, a mammal can be cloned by removing a nucleus, containing all its chromosomes (that is, one of each chromosome), from a “somatic” (or body) cell, and implanting the nucleus into a “germ” (or reproductive) cell, like an egg cell. This produces a situation similar to a fertilized egg, and if the egg divides mitotically, it can potentially grow into a new organism – a genetically identical copy of the original mammal, or whatever.
Note that TRC and other HM procedures are not creating a new organism, but just manufacturing new organs from somatic cells. The germ cells, or reproductive cells, don’t even come into play.
So, technically, TRC (and all HM) is not cloning. Since there is no removal of a nucleus and no creation of a genetic copy of an entire organism, the same concerns about the fidelity of the “genetic copy” don’t really come into play.
Yes, you are still making a copy, but not of an entire organism. You are making copies of somatic cells (the donor cells). But the human body makes copies of its own cells anyway, all the time. All kinds of cells all over the body normally undergo cell division to create more cells of the same kind. So, really, TRC and all forms of HM are nothing unusual. They are nothing fundamentally different from what the body does itself anyway. HM just changes the way and the place that this is done. Instead of those donor follicles dividing and creating new cells which remain inside the donor follicles, cells are being extracted, physically removed from the donor follicles, and caused to multiply into copies in a laboratory.