Why do identical twins have different fingerprints?

Monozygotic twins or identical twins share the same genetic make-up (or DNA) as they originate from a single zygote (fertilized egg). They are genetically ‘similar’, but not exactly the ‘same’. They may have same hair colour, similar eyes and similar nose, but may differ in other aspects. And fingerprints are definitely not identical among such twins because first, fingerprints are not an entirely genetic characteristic, and second, a variety of environmental factors influence one’s fingerprint patterns.

A person’s fingerprints are formed when he or she is a developing baby in the mother’s womb. The fine details on fingerprints are influenced by random stress experienced in the womb – the length of the umbilical cord, access to nutrition, blood pressure, rate of finger growth at the end of the first trimester, and the position in the womb. Identical twins, though developing from one zygote, occupy different positions in the womb and these variations are enough to make a difference.


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