MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: Shouldn't identical twins have approx. the same amount of hair?

Date: Wed May 3 17:35:46 2000
Posted By: Tod Companion, Post-doc/Fellow, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 956608138.Ge

Frustration of the unknown - a hallmark of science.

First of all, identical twins are only genetically identical - all the tiny 
differences that occur in a life make subtle differences crop up. What you 
describe is vexing - far beyond the usual differences that crop up between 

A corellary question, is it possible they are fraternal twins, and just 
look a great deal alike? This is probably a dumb question, but I was just 

Second, as you probably know, alopecia is an autoimmune disease, where the 
immune system attacks the hair folicle/or hormones which trigger hair 
production - and the hair of the sufferer falls out.

I would guess that twins should have the same amount of hair, unless one 
has an infection or was exposed to something (many autoimmune disease have 
environmental triggers.)

I am not a medical doctor, and can't honestly offer you any medical advice.

There is the ubiquitous webMD, and here are a few web sites:

I can vouch for none of them - 

Finally, from personal experience, I know a family where two of four 
daughters suffered from alopecia in their pre teens, but the condition 
cleared up by the time they were 14 or so. It's a strange malady.

Good luck, and ask your doctor lots of questions - you deserve all the 
answers you desire!

Tod Companion, Ph.D.

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