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Two people cannot have the same fingerprints. So far as forensic science has been able to determine, not even identical twins have prints that are exactly matched. This helps makes the analysis of fingerprints still one of the main means in which to identify people involved in a crime.
Though fingerprints cannot be identical, they can in fact be very similar. Two identical twins, for example, will have fingerprints that might appear identical to the naked eye. In fact, some characteristics may be a result of genetics. Thus it may be possible to preliminarily identify familial ties by examining the prints of close family members.
This is particularly the case if parents have similar fingerprints. Similarities among children may then occur quite regularly. Some families enjoy buying a fingerprinting kit and comparing those of family members. This work makes for a great science project for elementary or secondary school students.
When people hear the word fingerprints, they mostly think of fingers. However, the term may also refer to the distinct and unique patterns formed on the toes. Again, these patterns have never been found to be identical even in twins.
Even though fingerprints are likely proven exceptionally unique, fingerprint evidence is often of secondary importance when DNA evidence can be found. DNA is often referred to as the genetic fingerprints of a person, because it is also different for each person. This type of evidence looks at the fine differences between collected samples and suspects. It can quickly rule in or rule out the presence of the possibility that a person is responsible for a crime.
Often, evidence of fingerprints on furniture or walls may merely prove a person’s presence at the scene of a crime, and not necessarily the person’s presence at the time of a crime. Some DNA evidence, on the other hand, like that collected from a rape kit, can positively identify a person as the only one who could have committed a crime. When forensic inspectors can get both types of evidence, a case is even more easily made.