If there is one thing that characterizes us as unique human beings, it is our DNA. In fact, like this one, which is unique, our fingerprints are not repeated in anyone else in the world and are non-transferable.

As a result of DNA, Apu Sarker and his family have no fingerprints on any of their fingers. Weird is not it? Realize why!


Rare disease present in few families

From the north of Bangladesh, in a village in the district of Rajshahi, the story of Apu Sarker emerges. A young man of 22 years, assistant physician, until recently, and descendant of farmers. Everything seems normal, until we know that Apu's family does not have a condition that “wipes out” fingerprints, the result of a genetic mutation.

In fact, this condition is so rare that only a very small number of families in the world are registered without fingerprints.

I don't think he ever thought of it as a problem.

Apu Sarker said about his grandfather's time.

Absence of impressions.

Live the modern world without fingerprints

If at the time it was not a problem, nowadays it can represent an obstacle. This is because the almost imperceptible grooves that we have on our fingertips, the dermatoglyphs, have become one of the most collected personal data worldwide.

In 2008, Bangladesh introduced national identification cards for all adults. Since the database required a fingerprint, it took some time for Amal, Apu's father, to receive his card with the information “No fingerprint” (no fingerprint, in Portuguese).

Two years later, fingerprints became mandatory on documents such as driving licenses and passports. Despite several attempts, Amal managed to obtain a passport. Despite this, he is afraid of the problems he may encounter on any trips and, therefore, he does not do so.

Apu Sarker.

On the other hand, although the motorcycle is an essential tool for your day-to-day life, you have never been able to issue a driving license, even after paying the fee and passing the exam. Then, always take the payment receipt with you, in order to prove that you are fit.

This is always an embarrassing experience for me.

Said Amal.

In the case of mobile phones, all the male family cards are in the name of Apu's mother, because digital printing was necessary to formalize the purchase of a card.

In addition to these, other problems arise when identity authentication via fingerprint is required.

Apu and Amal Sarker.

Study of the absence of fingerprints

The rare condition that affects the generations of the Apu family may be called Adermatoglifia, which became known in 2007, when a woman tried to enter the USA. Although the passport photograph matches, customs officials were unable to register any fingerprints.

This is because, in fact, she did not have them.

Faced with this situation, the woman contacted a Swiss dermatologist named Peter Itin. After conducting several tests, Peter found, in addition to the woman, eight other members of his family without fingerprints.

Comparing family members with and without fingerprints, the dermatologist and a team, which in the meantime, have identified a gene. Then, SMARCAD1 was mutated in the 9 family members without fingerprints, as a cause of the rare disease.

Apparently, the mutation implies nothing but the absence of fingerprints and, at the time, there was very little information on the subject. In addition to the scientific name, Peter Itin called it the disease of the immigration delay, referring to the first case of the condition he met.

The case of Apu's family was diagnosed by a Bangladeshi doctor as keratoderma, but, for Itin, this could be a secondary condition of Adermatoglifia. However, further testing would be needed to prove it.

Now, Apu and Amal already have a new national identity card that uses facial and retinal recognition. This, only after presenting the government with a medical certificate.

As Apu says, there should be an alternative to recognition through digital printing, because, although it is not a known reality, there are those who cannot guarantee it and have problems because of that.

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