UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Is a person's fingerprint pattern related to their toe print pattern?
Question Date: 2015-09-18
Answer 1:

That's an interesting question. Fingerprints are thought to develop due to differences in the growth rate of the layers of your skin; the top layer grows faster than the mid-layer resulting in buckling of the top layer and formation of ridges. Environmental factors in the womb (fluid, movement) appear to also influence formation of the fingerprint, meaning that the ridge pattern is not exclusively genetic. For example, identical twins (that have the same DNA) have distinct fingerprints (and presumably toe-prints). Since an individual’s fingers and toes develop in the same environment, perhaps they would be more similar than if you compared the fingerprints between individuals. I would hypothesize then that finger and toe-prints are related. However, I am not sure, and cannot find any data to support this hypothesis. What is your hypothesis and how could you test it? I would start by identifying some common features of the toe print and fingerprint (arches vs whorls for example) and compare these qualities among many different individuals. Can you predict the features of the toe print by examining the fingerprint or vice versa?

Your question leads me to many more questions, which means it is an exceptionally good one!

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use