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Name: Patricia M.
Status: Educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2002

Do each of your fingers on one hand inherit their fingerprint from a different set of allelles? yes /no If not how can you have a loop fingerprint and a whorl print on the same hand?

Dear Patricia:

Fingerprints are determined primarily by genetics, but they are also subject to environmental modification during fetal development. This explains why the fingerprints of twins are similar but not identical, as described in the following answers to a question regarding "Twins and Fingerprints" from the Ask A Scientist General Science Archive:

So each fingerprint on one individual's hand would be subject to similar environmental modification in utero, as well.

Thanks for the good question,

Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
Children's Hospital of Orange County
Division of Educational Programs
Argonne National Laboratory

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