Monday, 19 September 2011

The Joys of Adermatoglyphia Malcolm Rose

Why do we have fingerprints? Science isn’t sure. Some say they improve grip, but more recent research suggests that the ridges reduce friction. Maybe they are there to improve the sensitivity of our fingertips. One thing’s for sure. They didn’t evolve to reveal our identity to forensic scientists.

So, what’s this about adermatoglyphia? It’s a rare genetic mutation and it’s an attractive medical condition if you’re a criminal. Very handy indeed. I’m tempted to say groovy but that’s entirely inappropriate. People with adermatoglyphia have no fingerprints. Great! That’s the basis of a new crime story, surely. But hang on. So far, only five families worldwide are known to have this gene variation. That makes the premise somewhat implausible. Still, I’ve read many implausible things in crime stories and successfully suspended my disbelief.

I know of two other reasons for a lack of fingerprints. But, sorry, I’m keeping them to myself for the moment. Sooner or later, you’ll read about them in a novel.

Right. That’s fingerprint evidence taken care of. Now, how am I going to avoid leaving my DNA at the scene of my crime?