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June 24, 2014 AT 5:00 am

Are Fingerprint Patterns Inherited? #makereducation

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This great activity from Scientific American looks at family fingerprints to determine if they’re hereditary!

Background

You started getting your own unique fingerprints even before you were born! During weeks 10 through 24 of development ridges form on the epidermis (outermost skin layer) of a fetus’s fingertips. The patterns that these ridges make on each finger and thumb are known as fingerprints, which are static and do not change with age—so an individual will have the same fingerprints from infancy to adulthood. The patterns change size, but not shape, as the person grows. (To get a better idea of how that works you can model the change in size by inking your fingerprint onto a balloon and then blowing up the balloon.) Because each person has unique fingerprints that do not change over time, these prints can be used for identification. For example, police use fingerprints to determine whether a particular individual has been at a crime scene.

Read more.

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