If You’re Wondering Why Identical Twins Fingerprints Are Different and Why That is Good…

While we have all seen shows and movies where one evil twin tries to frame the other twin, this scenario is virtually impossible if they have fingerprints that were found at the scene. The reason is because even identical twins, although they share the same genetic DNA, they do not have identical fingerprints.

While their prints are very similar and usually indistinguishable using the naked eye, a fingerprint expert or a good fingerprint software can find the differences.   Monozygotic or one cell twins share a single zygote or fertilized egg that divides itself into two parts giving both babies the same genetic material to form the fetus of each twin.

Fraternal twins are born from separate eggs and have different DNA. Identical twins’ fingerprints are not much different than those of fraternal twins. The ridges, loops, and whorls are somewhat similar but a little easier to find the differences than identical twins.

Fingerprints are one of only a few noticeable visible differences of identical twins. They do have different teeth and hair patterns sometimes.

How the Fingerprints Develop in the Womb

As the fetus’ develop at around six and seventeen weeks, they each begin forming fingerprints. The DNA helps ensure they form similar ridges, whorls, and loops. However, changes in their environment in the womb affects the prints on each finger and that is why they do not stay identical.

Some things in the womb that cause these subtle changes in each babies prints include:

  • How much nutrition the fetus gets in the womb.
  • The blood flow to the fetus.
  • The location in the womb.
  • The length of the umbilical cord.
  • How fast the fingers grow affects the fingerprint too.
  • The blood pressure effects the fingerprints.
  • Hormone levels of the baby.
  • Contact with Amniotic fluid can cause differences in the development of the fingerprints.

Scientists believe that nature versus nurture applies in the cause of how a baby’s fingerprint is formed. The DNA keeps the prints very similar because of having the same genetic material and the environment in the womb alters the prints slightly by the different factors it encounters.

Fingerprints are formed due to the stresses causing the prints to be compressed on the dermal layers of the fingerprints. By six months of the pregnancy the baby’s fingerprints are completely formed.

Lifetime of Prints

Once the babies are born their fingerprints will only change due to injuries that cause physical damage to the fingertips, such as:

  • Burns
  • Scars
  • Skin conditions

No two people in the world can be found with the exact same fingerprints. It is estimated that less than one in sixty-four billion people might have fingerprints so close it would be hard to find a difference and such an occurrence would likely take millions of years.

Why are Fingerprints Important?

Fingerprints are important in identifying people killed or injured who cannot tell authorities who they are themselves. They are also the best way we have of proving who someone is when a crime is committed.

If your child was killed in an accident, wouldn’t you want to know which one it was if they were identical twins? By looking closely or using special software authorities can determine who is who.

You would not want framed for a crime someone else committed even if they were your twin.

Since fingerprints are very specific to only one person law enforcement can use a person prints to identify them. DNA is very useful, but in the case of identical twins it would not address which twin they were identifying. Dental records are often useful in identifying a person but are not always available.

Criminals often leave their fingerprints behind at a crime scene and if law enforcement or investigators can identify them, they can find the person that may have committed the crime.

Investigators will look at the differences in the patterns of the ridges, whorls, and loops to compare with a suspect’s fingerprints. If they match, they know to look for more evidence to either prove or disprove a suspect is the perpetrator.

A Little History on Fingerprints and How They are Used Today

In 1858, a man named Dr. William Herschel using the thumb prints of illiterate prisoners and workers to help identify them in India. Since that time the technology of fingerprint forensics has evolved.

In today’s society there are a number of reasons your fingerprints may end up in a database. One such reason is getting a drivers license. New drivers are required to be fingerprinted when applying for a new license. This action puts you in your states database.

Another reason people get fingerprinted is to get a passport so they can fly or enter another country for work or pleasure. People who want to carry a firearm legally have to get printed in order to apply for a special license so they can get a permit.

People who want to adopt or faster children in this country have a series of background checks and have to submit to fingerprinting so they can be thoroughly investigated so the court will know if it a good idea to allow them to have children in their home.

Some jobs require a in depth background check which may include fingerprinting to prove you are whom you claim to be. They will match the prints against national databases to make sure you are who you say and have not committed any crimes.

Government and even the military keep fingerprints on file of all the people in the service or employed in federal or state buildings.  Jobs that require clearance especially will require fingerprints and a high-end background check to help prevent terrorist attacks and crimes against the country.

States will have a database and the FBI has records for our entire nation. The database is ten times bigger than their database on DNA. Interpol, and other international agencies, and Scotland Yard will have international databases too.

To Conclude

Having fingerprints of their very own helps gives each twin another way to be their unique individual even if being a twin is special and they love being one. Sharing everything physically might be fun to fool those you love on occasion, but everyone likes to be their own person.

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