Science Fair Projects with Fingerprints and Genetics

Are Fingerprints Inherited Science Fair Abstract

See science fair projects with fingerprints and genetics to determine whether fingerprint patterns are passed down within families. Explore this creative 4th grade project.

4th Grade – Age 9
Colorado, USA

The purpose of this project is to find out if fingerprint patterns are inherited like eye color, hair color and other genetic characteristics.

HYPOTHESIS: I don’t believe fingerprint patterns are inherited.

White/unlined 3X5 index cards
Matte finish transparent tape – ¾ inch
Pencils and sharpener
Magnifying glass

I made fingerprint cards to hold the prints of each person tested.
I labeled the card with the 5 finger names and “right” (for right hand).
I took fingerprints from all 5 fingers of the right hand from 7 families of four (two parents, two children).
I took all the fingerprints using the same method.

I used a magnifying glass to examine each fingerprint and classify it as:
A = Arch
LL = Left Loop
RL = Right Loop
W = Whorl

Next, I charted each family’s patterns. I compared the mother’s fingerprints to each child’s and recorded the number of matches out of ten possible matches. Then I compared the father’s fingerprints to each child’s and recorded those matches out of ten possible matches. I did the same thing for a random sample of families. The random sample consisted of 7 groups of unrelated people. Each group had a mother, father and two children.

The families had 66 matches out of a possible 140 matches or 47%. The random sample had 74 matches out of 140 matches or 53%.

The random sample actually had more matches than the families. This would support my hypothesis that fingerprint patterns are not hereditary.

If I did science fair projects with fingerprints and genetics again I would look at the same family over many generations to see if any pattern repeated.

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