Fingerprint Frenzy

WHO stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying… time to dust for prints!

Arches, loops, whorls — your fingerprints are just one swirly piece of the puzzle that is YOU! But what determines how your fingerprints look?

Jinxi Li from Fudan University in Shanghai and team investigated. 

They studied the genes of nearly twenty-five thousand people worldwide. They mapped out common fingerprint traits to determine what genes cause them. This genetic deep-dive showed a connection between limb growth and fingerprint patterns. Hand and finger size also seems connected to print patterns. 

Next up? Test the connection first HAND. They modified a limb-development gene called EVI-1 in mice and watched those mousey feet closely.

Results? Mice with modified EVI-1 genes grew ridge-like patterns on their TOES! Those toeprints weren’t there before!

This research suggests that whatever gene determines how big our limbs grow ALSO determines our fingerprint patterns!

Time to FINGER OUT who the cookie culprit is!

Reference: Li, J., Glover, J. D., Zhang, H., Peng, M., Tan, J., Mallick, C. B., Hou, D., Yang, Y., Wu, S., Liu, Y., Peng, Q., Zheng, S. C., Cross, E. I., Medvinsky, A., Anderson, R. A., Brown, H., Yuan, Z., Zhou, S., Xu, Y., … Wang, S. (2022). Limb development genes underlie variation in human fingerprint patterns.  Cell, 185(1), 95-112.e18.