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Biol 115: Fingerprints

by: Caitlyn Parker

Biol 115: Fingerprints Bio 115

Marketplace > West Virginia University > Biology > Bio 115 > Biol 115 Fingerprints
Caitlyn Parker

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Principles of Biology
Dr. Young
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Caitlyn Parker on Wednesday July 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Bio 115 at West Virginia University taught by Dr. Young in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Principles of Biology in Biology at West Virginia University.

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Date Created: 07/27/16
Title The Effects of Genetics on Pattern Similarity in Fingerprints Introduction When looking at siblings, it might be easy to tell that they are related because they have many of the same features. Young children might also look a lot like their parents did at a young age. These factors are all controlled by genetics. People inherit many traits from their parents, but every individual has a unique fingerprint. Fingerprints begin forming in utero during the fourth month, and are completely formed by the sixth month, three months before the child is born (USCB Science Line). Once the child is born the fingerprint does not change, except for permanent scarring (Crime Museum). Because they do not change, they are used for crime scene investigation because they can be traced back to a specific individual. Even though every fingerprint is unique, the fingerprint pattern might be inherited. The purpose of this project is to determine whether or not fingerprint patterns are controlled by genetics. This will be done by comparing sibling fingerprint matches with non-siblings. Siblings share the same gene pool so they are the best subjects to use to test this experiment. If two fingerprints have the same pattern they are a match There are three classes of fingerprint patterns: loops, whorls, and arches. See Figure 1 located in Appendix 1 for examples of each. Loops are the most common type of fingerprint, occurring 60-65% of the time, whereas arches occur only about 5% of the time (Crime Museum). Because there are three specific types of fingerprints and they are not completely random, it is likely that there is a gene which controls the expression of fingerprint patterns. Also, because one is more common than the others, it is likely that there was once a mutation on the gene causing there to be more than one type of fingerprint, much like hair color and eye color. This leads to the hypothesis that fingerprint patterns are controlled by a dominant or recessive gene which is inherited and passed down from parent to child. The main hypothesis for this experiment is that there will be more matches of fingerprint patterns between siblings than non-siblings, which will indicate that genetics plays a role in fingerprint pattern expression. Procedure To begin this project, research was conducted on how to take accurate fingerprints. The FBI has a webpage on how to do this using scotch tape and graphite. The technique was practiced a few times before moving on to my participants. A total of 18 pairs of siblings, or 36 total participants were used. After they signed their consent form, their finger was cleaned with a wet paper towel to remove any dirt or other substances that may interfere with the fingerprinting accuracy. A graphite pencil was used to color in a rectangle, making sure there was graphite residue on top of it. Each participant then rubbed their right index finger onto the graphite until their entire finger was coated with the substance. Scotch tape was then gently pressed onto the coated finger and burnished the tape to get all of the residue off. Peeling from bottom up the tape was gently removed from the finger and placed it into the notebook, making sure it was readable. The previous steps were then repeated with the participant’s sibling. Once both fingerprints were in the book they were labeled with a letter and the numbers one or two. Each fingerprint was analyzed to determine whether they were a loop, whorl, or arch pattern. If they both had the same pattern the fingerprints were a match. Once all prints were collected a random group generator was used to pair two random fingerprints together that were not of any relation. The new pairs were analyzed just as before to see if the fingerprint patterns matched. Results After collecting all data, 50% of the fingerprints were loops, 33% were whorls, and 16% were arches. Figure 2 shows the total number of fingerprint pattern matches for both siblings and non-siblings. Table 1 shows the number of each kind of fingerprint were collected, along with how many of each kind of fingerprint was a match with siblings and non-siblings. Figure 3 shows the number of the different types of matches (loops, whorls, or arches) compared to the number of non-sibling type of matches. All tables and figures can be viewed in Appendix 1. Discussion The data shows that 50% of the fingerprints in siblings were matches, whereas in non-siblings only 15% of the fingerprints were matches. This data supports the earlier hypothesis that there will be more matches in sibling fingerprints than in non-sibling fingerprints. The sibling pairs had the same number of matches and non matches, which shows that randomness is a factor, however, this could be due to a recessive gene being expressed. Not all siblings have the same hair or eye color, even though they both have the same gene pool. The fact that there are more matches in the sibling pairs than in the non-sibling pairs shows that genetics does play a factor in determining the expression of fingerprint pattern. The sibling fingerprints also had more variety in their matches. There was a least of each kind of match in the sibling pairs, whereas the non-sibling matches only had one kind. Out of the matching sibling pairs, 59% were loops, 33% were whorls, and 11% were arches. In the non-sibling matches, the only kind of matches were loops. This is most likely due to the fact that loops are the most common type of fingerprint. Because the siblings had more variety in their fingerprint matches, it is likely that there is a gene that controls which pattern is expressed. Conclusion The hypothesis of this experiment was proved correct. There were more matches in sibling fingerprint patterns than in non-sibling fingerprint patterns. This leads to the idea that fingerprint patterns are controlled by a dominant or recessive gene, which is inherited from a parent. Literature Cited University of California, Santa Barbara. (n.d.). I am interested in studying how fingerprints develop... ScienceLine. Web. 03 Jan. 2016 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (n.d.). Recording Legible Fingerprints. Criminal Justice Information Services. Web. 03 Jan. 2016 "Fingerprints." Crime Library:. The National Museum of Crime and Punishment, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2016. Appendix 1 Figure 1: Types of Fingerprint Patterns Figure 2: Number of Total Fingerprint Pattern Matches for Siblings vs. Non-Siblings Table 1: Fingerprint Matches for Siblings and Non-Siblings by Type of Fingerprint Total Number of Number of Sibling Number of Non- Pattern Type Pattern Type Matches Sibling Matches Whorl 12 3 0 Arch 6 1 0 Loop 18 5 3 Figure 3: Type of Sibling Matches vs. Type of Non-Sibling Matches


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