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October 2017


Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(10):982. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.2923

A fingerprint refers to the pattern formed by the epidermal ridges of the skin. These distinctive markings, however, occur not only on the fingers, but also on palms, soles, and toes. Human fingerprints are formed during early fetal development through a mechanism that is not completely understood, but one that is likely influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. The product of this process is unique to every individual, shared not even by identical twins.1 Because of this, fingerprinting has been used for criminal identification for more than a century.2