Born Without Fingerprints: Scientists Solve Mystery of Rare Disorder

From National Geographic:Fingerprints_170_1

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia report that defects in the protein keratin 14 may be responsible for both diseases, known as Naegeli syndrome and dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis (DPR). The lack of fingerprints can cause vexing social problems, which are magnified because few people have heard of the condition. Cheryl Maynard of Fairfax, Virginia, is part of the fifth generation of her family to have inherited DPR from her mother’s side. “My father was in the military and he had top-secret clearances,” she recalled. “We moved a lot, and everywhere we went they’d say, What do you mean your wife doesn’t have fingerprints? What do you mean that you have kids without fingerprints?”

Maynard has personally experienced many fingerprint-related snafus, often related to employment. She works as a flight attendant and noted that a standard background check by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which took about 2 weeks for most of her peers, took 14 weeks in her case.

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