Home WorldAsiaChina Study Shows Limb Development Gene Association with Fingerprint Patterns

Study Shows Limb Development Gene Association with Fingerprint Patterns

by Ferre Keira
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Fudan University (FDU) in Shanghai, China & Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health (SINH), Chinese Academy of Sciences found that higher frequency of whorl patterns was associated with longer little finger.


Limb development genes underlie variation in fingerprint patterns. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

Beijing, China (Merxwire) – Fingerprints are a kind of skin texture that can increase the friction between fingers and objects so that people can grasp objects, and fingerprints can also leave imprints on objects. On the other hand, a fingerprint is like a person’s ID card because each person’s fingerprint pattern is unique. Are you curious why the fingerprint is the current pattern? Well, you might be interested in this study, published in the first issue of Cell in 2022.

People use fingerprints for identification now, but it may have more uses in the future, as scientists have discovered an association between fingerprints and genes related to limb development.

FDU and relevant teams of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have joined more than ten research institutions to use genome-wide scans in the Han population to identify 18 loci associated with fingerprint types, and finally confirmed that limb development-related genes dominate the formation of fingerprint patterns.

In the study, the researchers conducted a large-scale GWAS, a cross-ethnic meta-analysis of more than 23,000 individuals, and experiments using mice to verify the importance of limb development-related genes in the formation of dermatoglyphic patterns in mice.

Fingerprints will be able to be used for purposes other than identification in the future. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

“People may wonder why our team is working on fingerprints,” says Sijia Wang, a geneticist at the Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and co-senior author on the paper.

“We started the work purely out of curiosity. But later it turns out fingerprint pattern is associated with genes for limb growth, which are critical for fetal development. This provides another classic example of pleiotropy, when multiple phenotypes are interrelated to each other and are affected by the same genes.” Sijia Wang said in a press release.

The researchers pointed out that the more whorl patterns a person had, the longer his pinky finger became. The most groundbreaking feature of this study is that people have never found out what genes are responsible for the differences in fingerprint patterns before. This is the first time that the differences in fingerprints have been found to be caused by genes related to limb development.

This research contributes to the in-depth study of genetics through the external characteristics of the human body. It has great value in various fields such as congenital disease screening and human disease prevention. For example, taking a fingerprint after a baby is born can identify the child’s chance of developing Down’s syndrome, so that the child can get help earlier.

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