Saturday, December 26, 2020

Adermatoglyphia - people with no fingerprint

Among the most unusual of conditions is the rare occurrence of people who, instead of the complex, individualized whorl of patterns most people have at their fingertips, have ... absolutely nothing.

Adermatoglyphia, the absence of fingerprints, is one of the rarest conditions in the world, affecting just a handful of families worldwide. But, in a world increasingly dominated by technology and biometrics, it can be a major problem for those people. In many parts of the world, fingerprints (technically, dematoglyphs) are the biometric of choice for obtaining a passport, ID card, drivers license, even a cellphone SIM card.

Adermatoglyphia is a rare genetic mutation that arises in families, such as the Sarker family in Bangladesh, where four generations are affected by it, or the Swiss family where seven members of the family have fingerprints and nine do not. It is marked by flat, featureless finger pads and, often a reduced number of sweat glands in the hands, resulting in vrty dry skin. The mutation, in a specific gene that seems to have no other function, appears to cause no other ill health effects.

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