Scientists Discover How Fingerprints Form

Fingerprints are unique to each person and are consistent from our birth onward. They are identifying information we always carry around even when the rest of our body changes over time. How fingerprints are determined has always been a mystery -until now. A new study describes how the development of each fingerprint starts before birth through chemical signals sent from three points on each finger, located at the crease of the last knuckle, the middle of the pad, and underneath the fingernail.

The pattern of these fingerprints are determined by the actions of three messenger molecules. The molecule known as WNT tells the cells to start multiplying, which forms ridges. It also instructs cells to generate the molecule EDAR, which boosts cell multiplication. A third molecule, BMP, inhibits the activity of the first two molecules. The arches, loops, and whorls of our fingerprints are dependent on how these chemicals from three points interact with each other over time. Read more about the cellular origins of fingerprints at ScienceNews.  -via Damn Interesting 

(Image credit: J. Glover et al/Cell 2023

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