Friday, March 4, 2011

Good Question...

I was out with my some of my friends last night and, once again, the topic of twins came up. There were the typical guessing name games and the surprised faces people we met gave us when they found out we were twins. We had heard the typical array of questions once again (not that we minded), but then my friend Tami asked a question that I’ve always wondered about as well: do twins have the same fingerprints?

I really didn’t know how to answer her question. I know that identical twins share the same DNA and look practically the same, but genetically, would everything be identical? Could two people really have the exact same fingerprints?
When I got home, I decided to research twin fingerprints myself to see if Bri and I had the same ones or not.  I assumed that there was a great possibility that our fingerprints would be exact copies. I mean, we have the same DNA, why not fingerprints?
It turns out that this is not the case. According to, although identical twins have similar fingerprints, they are not exactly identical. However, the fingerprints of twins are more similar than two people who are not related to each other. (Well that makes sense!)
Why would Bri and I have the same DNA, but not the exact same fingerprints? According to, there are two reasons why identical twins have varying fingerprints. For one, genes determine only the general characteristics of the pattern that develops on the tip of the fingers. Because they are general characteristics, they vary from person to person, including twins. Also, when babies are still in the uterus, the skin on their fingertips is in contact with amniotic fluid. They also touch other parts of the uterus, themselves, and the other fetus. Because of this, the cells on their fingertips are in flux which creates different patterns on the fingers. Thus, different fingerprints!
I guess everything about identical twins really isn’t exactly the same. (I’ve been telling people Bri and I are different for years!) Even though it’s not a distinguishable way to tell us apart, it shows that we really are different. So, to answer the question, no, identical twins do not have identical fingerprints.



  1. Wow! Thats so cool =) I knew that you guys wouldn't have the same fingerprint cause I remember readign it somewhere but I had no idea about the amniotic fluid and stuff made the patterns and it's amazing! Great research and awesome topic!

  2. Wow thanks for clearing that one up! I never knew that.. I always thought identical twins were, physically, exactly identical. Props to your friend for asking such a great question!

  3. Well now you can't frame your sister in a crime.

    On another note, the way fingertips are formed is really cool. Cool stuff!

  4. That would be so strange to even share a fingerprint with your twin! Good thing you cleared that up by checking multiple sources or else that would be crazy sharing even fingerprints

  5. I recall watching a CSI or Law and Order where they had two suspects who were identical twins. They claimed that the DNA and the fingerprints made it impossible to determine who was the killer. I guess they didn't do their homework.