Identical Twins Don’t Have Identical Fingerprints, Even from Birth

Julia February 1, 2011 46

Today I Found Out that no two people in this world have identical fingerprints, not even identical twins.

You would expect identical twins to have the same fingerprints as they are monozygotic, which means that they develop when a single fertilized egg splits in two, leading to two embryos. As they both came from the combination of the same egg and sperm, these twins have virtually indistinguishable DNA.

So why aren’t their fingerprints identical from birth? Fingerprints are not entirely a genetic characteristic. They are a part of a ‘phenotype’ which means they are determined by the interaction of an individual’s genes and the intrauterine environment (differing hormonal levels, nutrition, blood pressure, position in the womb and the growth rate of the fingers at the end of the first trimester).

Minor differences in fingerprints arise from random local events during fetal development. The genes determine the general characteristics of the patterns of fingerprints. However, inside the uterus, finger tissue comes in contact with the amniotic fluid, other parts of the fetus and the uterus. Some experts point out, for example, that touching amniotic fluid during weeks 6-13 of pregnancy significantly changes the patterns of fetus’s fingerprints.

Overall, identical twins’  fingerprints tend to be similar, but there always will be subtle differences making even their fingerprints unique.

Bonus Facts:

  • Before modern genetic testing became common, the similarity of twins’ fingerprints was used to determine whether they were identical or fraternal.
  • The odds of having identical twins is about 3 in 1,000, whereas the birthrate for all twins is about 32.2 in 1,000 and there is no known hereditary trait that influences a predisposition to having identical twins. Birth rates for identical twins are fairly consistent and are the virtually the same regardless of race, geography or maternal age.
  • Identical twins lose some fundamental similarities as they grow older. This will reflect in their looks, behavior and diseases they are prone to. The reason for these differences as they grow are changes in the epigenome, which refers to chemical modifications in genes that don’t directly affect a gene’s DNA but result in changes in gene expression. All people build up these mutations over time.  These epigenetic affects may be caused by exposure to chemicals, physical activity levels, aging, dietary habits and other environmental factors. That is why in middle and old age identical twins tend to look more like non-identical twins.

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46 Comments »

  1. SamIAm April 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    o3o…aren’t those finger prints exactly the same…
    looks liek the bottom one is just the tpoe one unside down and negative..

  2. !@# April 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    WOW who knew!!!

  3. shame292 April 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    no there not the same you idiot and one is not negative the border color makes it look it but ANYONE who has a brain knows its an optical illusion of sorts…

  4. Aimee Upton April 27, 2011 at 8:18 am - Reply

    No offence, but I knew that when I was about six?

  5. Rhubarb April 29, 2011 at 9:38 am - Reply

    C’mon… of COURSE not even identical twins’ fingerprints are alike. Third grade Health, my brotha!

  6. Jose April 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    haha tell me why i know those chicks

  7. TheDean May 1, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

    I think the more important observation si that both girls are absolutely stunning

  8. Ali Acai May 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Quran tells that us about 1400 years ago…

    3. Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones?

    4. Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.

    Quran Part: 75. The Resurrection (Al-Qiyámah)

  9. Synthzizer May 2, 2011 at 5:59 am - Reply

    These two fingerprints are EXCATLY the same. One has been inverted and fliped. Take a closer look. I Tell you people so Shame292 you are now the Idiot….

  10. Me May 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Yes that fingerprint is the same one in both boxes, one fliped and negative of the other, but it’s just illustrative dude, it’s not theirs.
    And the most important, yes, they are absolutely stunning.

  11. SaharaGoddess May 6, 2011 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Its really sad that this is a new phenomena to the writer. This is genetics 101 otherwise noone would be able to tell the difference between identical twins and people could be sent to jail wrongfully for crimes their twin committed

  12. Andrew May 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    The pictures are of the same print just rotated and inverted. I have brothers who are twins and their prints are a near perfect MIRROR image are are their faces. When looking at one in the mirror they look like the opposite. As far as jail goes it’s the DNA where twins are in trouble. The DNA will be a perfect match.

  13. Daisy May 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Identical twins don’t have identical fingerprints, but they do have identical DNA prints. Fingerprints are just how you were touching the placenta during time of development.

  14. Eric May 23, 2011 at 7:55 am - Reply

    well the two fingerprints in the photo are identical, the bottom one is just 180 degrees rotated and inverted.

  15. yy3e5fg3e May 30, 2011 at 12:09 am - Reply

    You didn’t know this already?

  16. Kevin Moriarty May 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    What is the rate for female identiticle twin girls to be sexsual toward @ other?

  17. michael myers June 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    spent 30 seconds staring at the picture. when i was done i didn’t give 2 shits about fingerprints

  18. Al June 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I don’t care if they’re fully identical or not. I want those two in the picture so badly.

  19. Lolzor June 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    They are so hot <3

  20. @Ali Acai June 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    F*cking idiot (like pretty much every muslim).

    Do some reading on subjective validation.
    In case you don’t know why i’m telling you this: The passage you refer to says absolutely _nothing_ about the uniqueness of fingerprints.

  21. travailius June 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    holy crap you are stupid. no frikken duh, and to the idiot whom said those fingerprints look anything alike, you’re just as stupid. :\ if not much more stupid.

  22. Bumba June 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    “No two people have the same finger print”
    This is incorrect.

  23. wilner June 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    I am an identical twin. Up until the age of 12, my twin and I had identical fingerprints. My parents had us supply fingerprints to the local police department for their child kidnapping program (as did all the other kids in our elementary school). The police department was astounded that our fingerprints were identical. Then one day, my twin was helping me with a school project and accidentally cut my right thumb, leaving me with a scar. That scar is the only difference in our fingerprints.

  24. Job June 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    This is old knowledge. Everybody knows this but you. It seems that you’re discovering old news and believe you’re the first.

  25. ishmael July 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Those twins are sexy

  26. That one kid July 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Who are those chicks?!

    And ya those are pretty much the same…

  27. OMG July 7, 2011 at 11:57 am - Reply

    OMG is that true!? it’s the most amazing discovery in the history of mankind!! (I’m being ironic just in case) sometimes I think that people should read more and don’t waste time on the computer (as I am doing now) hahaha

  28. ANKS July 9, 2011 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Identical twins share the SAME DNA, but different thumb-prints. That thumb-print is the only thing which is biologically different

  29. Okuma July 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Humans have been around for 14 thousand years. There are currently ~6 billion humans. The average finger size has a limited number of lines, loops, whorls, and swirls. How many BILLIONS of humans have come before us? Maybe even trillions. Each person has 10 fingers. That’s 60 billion fingers just on earth today. Someone somewhere at some time HAS to have had the same finger print pattern. It’s impossible for there to be NO fingerprints identical, because there’s a limited number of patterns possible.

    Just a little injection of reality.

  30. Billy Fn Goats July 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    QUIET! I am thinking about those two twins in the picture…you think their boobs look the same? Lets see!

  31. Anon July 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Interesting that this website chose a picture of actual porn star twins for this article.

  32. trey July 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    the funny thing is, those girls aren’t twins, one is 15 the other one is 17. they’re cousins and they both said “what the fuck” when they saw this..

  33. duel August 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    what are these girls names? i have a feeling that iv seen them before.

  34. Andres August 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    I dont care about the exact twins! give me the name of that twins! they are really cute!

  35. john August 19, 2011 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Really? Because they look a lot like Claire and Annie Weaver. They got to UO, someone should tell them

  36. meee August 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    fingerprints? what? where? all i see is 2 really hot girls

  37. Trey August 27, 2011 at 6:29 am - Reply

    There names are Megan and Amanda and there not from UO.

  38. JD September 4, 2011 at 4:46 am - Reply

    Newsflash, they don’t have identical belly buttons, either, though I imagine someone will come on here and say: “I have an identical twin and WE have identical belly buttons!” or “You’re wrong, my best friends are twins and they have identical belly buttons!”
    Just in case, save your lies for someone else.

  39. prince September 5, 2011 at 3:05 am - Reply

    actually finger prints are not the topic.here main and hot topic is they r damn sexy and very hot

  40. Annie September 7, 2011 at 9:49 am - Reply

    yeah so….. this picture was stolen off of my sister’s website and it’s a photo of me and my identical twin when we were 15. NOT COOL. I’d really appreciate it if it was taken down please. And just to clarify, we really ARE twins and NOT porn stars. this is sick.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      @Annie: I’ve verified the picture is indeed of you and your sister via facebook. As per your request, it has been removed.

  41. Annie September 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Thanks. Really appreciate it!

  42. specks539 November 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    There are several families in the world that share a genetic anomaly – lacking ridges on their finger tips. Therefore their fingerprints are identical.

  43. jenny June 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    when i had my twins the dr.told me they was as identical all the way down to there thumb prints.so i don’t know what to think about it.

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