Adermatoglyphia is a rare genetic disorder where people are born without fingerprints, but are otherwise completely healthy. Adermatoglyphia is so rare only four extended families in the world are known to have it. This is the result of a gene mutation, a smaller for of the SMARCAD1 to be exact. Fingerprints develop in the womb and this mutation is the first link in a long chain of events. Finger pads of individuals with Adermatoglyphia are entirely flat. They have no looping ridges or arching.

What Problems Can this Cause?

A woman by the name of Cheryl Maynard has had trouble with employment due to her lack of fingerprints, which complicated identification (Source SBS). Apart from the nightmare of identification issues, the only serious symptom of Adermatoglyphia is having a reduced number of sweat glands, which means the inability to sweat properly. Because of this these individuals can easily develop heat stroke.

How can we identify someone with no prints?

This is a problem for law enforcement, but thankfully this is such a rare disorder, lack of fingerprints is the least of their worries. When it comes to employment the individual would need to provide as much paperwork as they possibly could. We didn’t find much information on what they should do about the fingerprints, but we feel having some sort of documentation from a physician on letterhead and possibly having it made legal by a judge could help.


Photo courtesy of Smithsonian

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