Bring Science Home

Succession Science: Are Fingerprint Patterns Inherited?

A Father's Day inheritance investigation from Science Buddies

Observations and results
Did you see some examples of fingerprint patterns being inherited?
There is an inheritance component to fingerprint patterns but the genetics of how they are inherited are complicated. (Multiple genes are involved.) Fingerprints are also affected by a person's environment while developing in the womb. Because of this, you may have seen some examples of fingerprint patterns likely being inherited (such as a son and/or daughter having the same pattern type as their father). But this may not have always been the case for individuals you know to be closely related. To more clearly see how fingerprint patterns are inherited, you would need to use a much larger sample size, such as described in the first "Extra" step. Because each person's fingerprints are unique, and not even identical twins—who share the same DNA—have identical fingerprints, this also shows that fingerprints are not completely controlled by genetics.
More to explore
Are one's fingerprints similar to those of his or her parents in any discernable way?, from Scientific American
The inheritance of fingerprint patterns, from The American Journal of Human Genetics
Fun, Science Activities for You and Your Family, from Science Buddies
Are Fingerprint Patterns Inherited?, from Science Buddies

This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies

Science Buddies

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Back to School Sale!

One year just $19.99

Order now >


Email this Article