Did you know that there are people born without fingerprints?

Are you one of those people who have problems using a service that requires identification by your fingerprints? It is such a try and try for many times until finally what you need is accomplished. Actually, there are a lot of people out there who have very weak fingerprints, but they are not nonexistent.

However, did you know that there are those who have completely smooth fingers without any digital mark? According to the Smithsonian website, in 2007, dermatologist Peter Itin was contacted by a Swiss woman with an unusual dilemma: she was having trouble entering the United States because she had no fingerprints.

Regulations require all non-residents to register their fingerprints when they enter the US, and officials were confused when the woman said she simply was not born with them.


When the dermatologist went to study the case, he found that eight other family members of the woman had also been born without fingerprints. With this, he noted that the condition is really something that happens genetically, affecting several people in the same family.

For further research, Peter Itin worked with Israeli dermatologist Eli Sprecher and other scholars. They were able to track down three other unrelated families who had several people with adhermatoglyphia. From there, the researchers successfully located the genetic mutation that leads to the disorder.

Image Source: Reproduction / Smithsonian

"It's an extremely rare condition. Usually in movies we've seen criminal characters trying to remove their fingerprints, but we've never heard about this condition of adhermatoglyphia, which is proven to exist. So, I think that's why the authorities of border control they find so worrying, "said Eli Sprecher.

The fingertips of people with adhermatoglyphia are completely flat, and they have none of the indentations and curvatures that characterize the fingerprints of virtually every human being. Despite this difference, people with this genetic disorder are totally healthy, having only a small number of sweat glands, which does not cause problems.

It is noteworthy that there are other genetic diseases (including reticular dermatopathia pigmentosa) that lead to a lack of fingerprints, but they also cause far more serious health impacts such as extremely thin hair and brittle teeth. However, it is not the same condition.

* Originally posted on 28/01/2014.


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