Are Fingerprint Patterns Inherited
As one of the many fields of forensic science that can benefit from additional research, fingerprint identification is probably the most deserving. Within recent years, many print examiners have been questioned in both professional and social situations as to whether fingerprint evidence should be considered scientific. This questioning caused latent print examiners to realize the pressing need for various types of ongoing research on the subject of fingerprints. Fingerprint patterns are formed on the fetus in the womb. Wertheim and Maceo reported that various cellular attachments ensure the prominence of friction ridges, while cellular stresses and cellular distributions account for all "three levels" of detail. They also state that fingerprint ridge counts and fingerprint pattern types are predominantly affected by two combined timing events: the onset of epidermal cellular proliferation and the timing of the regression of the volar pads. The total friction ridge count, according to Holt, as reiterated by Wertheim and Maceo, is the most inheritable feature in dermatoglyphics and is also determined by the symmetry of the volar pad at the time of ridge proliferation. This, therefore, suggests that the combined timing event of the onset of ridge proliferation along with the regression of the volar pad is also an inheritable trait. Consequently, the type of fingerprint pattern that occurs on the fetus is dependent upon the combined timing events of the onset of ridge proliferation and the volar pad regression. This idea that ridge formation, alignment, and overall pattern shape are affected by the time of the volar pad's appearance along with its regression was asserted by Cummins as early as 1929 and was still supported by Ash Baugh over sixty years later in 1991. Ash Baugh also concurs with Hale's earlier research in 1952 where he states that heredity dictates that volar skin will form friction ridges, also that the friction...
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