The People Without Fingerprints

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In 2007, dermatologist Peter Itin was contacted by a Swiss woman with an unusual quandry: She was having trouble entering the U.S. because she had no fingerprints. Regulations require all non-residents to be fingerprinted when they enter the country, and the authorities were baffled when the woman said that she simply hadn’t been born with any.

“[Adermatoglyphia is] an exceedingly rare condition,” says Sprecher, who’s one of just a handful of doctors worldwide to have dealt with the disease firsthand. “Generally, from the movies, we only hear of criminals who try to get their fingerprints removed.”

When they sequenced the DNA of 16 members of the woman’s family (nine with adermatoglyphia, and seven without), their hunch proved correct. Those in the former group all had a mutation in a region of DNA that codes for a protein called SMARCAD1.

Via Smithsonian.com for the full fascinating story.

This entry was posted in Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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