Fingerprinting

Different methods have been utilized in the past to identify individuals who may be susceptible for the development of Type 2 diabetes. One such method, which uses genetic screening, has provided helpful insight into identifying high-risk individuals but has also remained non-generalizable due to its high cost and lack of accessibility to certain groups . Additional models for identifying at risk candidates have also proved to be effective, but delayed in their diagnosis because phenotypic characteristics used as identifiers, including high BMI, do not manifest until after the development of hyperglycemia. More recently, fluctuating asymmetry in fingerprints (i.e. the first finger on the right hand has a different number of ridges in the print than the first finger on the left hand) has been identified as an inexpensive, promising, and highly predictive indicator of an individual’s propensity to develop T2DM.

Similar to diabetes, fingerprints are influenced by both the gestational environment of the fetus as well as genetics. Developmental studies have found that fingerprints are static after the early gestation period (16-17 weeks)[7]. As a result, influences in the gestational period that predispose an individual for diabetes may also be expressed through fingerprint asymmetry between the left and right corresponding digits.

We plan to test the hypothesis that asymmetry in fingerprints is an indicator of diabetes (T2DM and/or T1DM), with the larger goal of developing an inexpensive screening tool for diabetes.

Please contact Rachael.Mullin@tu.edu for more information.