There are a lot of myths and misinformation about the genetic causes of male pattern baldness (MPB). One of the most enduring is that a man inherits the baldness gene from his mother. While there is some truth to this, it is not the whole story.
The primary baldness gene is on the X, or female chromosome, which men do inherit from their mothers. A study from the University of Bonn in Germany from 2005 confirmed this, and added fuel to the mother myth. And it is true: the hereditary factor is more dominant on the mother’s side. If your dad has a full head of hair but your mom’s brother is a 5 on the Norwood Scale at age 35, chances are you will follow your uncle’s journey through MPB.
However, the gene for MPB is actually passed down from both sides of the family. Furthermore baldness genes may skip generations, and skip people within the same generation. This is why it is perfectly possible to have an older brother with enviable full, thick hair, while you are stuck with a Norwood 3 at age 27.
The result means that there are millions of families where the older brother gets the George Clooney hair while the younger is stuck with the Vin Diesel look, or visa versa. Furthermore, if you take four brothers it is absolutely possible to have a Norwood 3, 5 and 7 and a fourth brother with no MPB at all within that same family.
If most of the men on your mother’s AND your father’s side are bald, then you, your sons and brothers all have an increased propensity to experience MPB.
Life just isn’t fair sometimes. Luckily we live in an era when you don’t have sit by and simply watch your hair thin away to nothing. There are many FDA-approved medical advances that help you keep the hair you have, and even if you think you are too far gone, chances are you may be a candidate for a hair transplant.
Dr. James Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit excision technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. He is currently at the forefront of research and development in the field of hair cloning.