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Dermatoglyphics of American Blacks.

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Dermatoglyphics of American Blacks
QUTUB H. QAZI,' HELOUISE C. MAPA AND JAMES WOODS
Department of Pediatrics, Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Auenue,
Brooklyn, New York 11203
KEY WORDS Dermatoglyphics
Footprints
I
-
Fingerprints
.
Palmprints
-
American Blacks
ABSTRACT
Dermatoglyphics of 100 male and 100 female phenotypically
normal Black Americans living in New York City were analyzed. The significant
bimanual asymmetry was noted only for patterns in the second and the third interdigital areas of the palms. The significant sex differences included excess of
digital arch patterns in females and higher mean finger ridge counts in males.
Distribution of dermatoglyphic characteristics of Black Americans in our
study was compared to those of Black Americans studied by Steinberg e t al. ('75)
and Caucasian Americans studied by Schaumann and Alter ('76). The results
show that significant differences in the dermatoglyphics exist not only between
the Caucasian and Black subjects but also between the two groups of Black
Americans.
Abnormal dermatoglyphics have been described in a variety of clinical disorders associated with chromosomal aberrations, other
genetically determined diseases and prenatal
conditions such as congenital rubella (Schaumann and Alter, '76).Since the abnormal dermal configurations due to disease are only a
secondary phenomena superimposed on a primary pattern, in part inherited and variable
in different sexes and racial groups, it is essential to evaluate dermatoglyphics of patients against those of a group of normal subjects of the same racial and geographic distribution.
There is a paucity of data on the dermatoglyphics of normal Black populations of North
America. The present report describes dermatoglyphics of the phenotypically normal
American Black subjects living in the New
York City.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The sample is comprised of 200 phenotypically normal unrelated Black Americans
(100 male and 100 female) ranging in age
from three years to adult. Prints were obtained of fingers, palms and soles utilizing
either Faurot (inkless) or Hollister (ink pad)
methods. The patterns were evaluated primarily according to the conventional methods
(Cummins and Midlo, '43). Modal types of C
AM.
J. P m s . ANTHROP., 47: 483-488.
lines as described by Plato ('70) were used.
The position of the distal axial triradius was
expressed as a percentage of the distance of
the distally placed palmar axial triradius
from the distal wrist crease to the length of
the palm measured from the distal wrist
crease to the proximal of the middle finger
(Walker, '57).
RESULTS
Digital patterns
The frequency distribution of finger patterns of male and female subjects are shown
in table 1. There were no significant bimanual
differences in either sex. There was an excess
of arch patterns on both hands of female subjects compared t o males (p<0.005). In all,
8.2%of finger patterns in females were arches
in contrast to only 3.2%in males. The pattern
intensity index was 13.04 (6.44, left hands;
6.0, right hands) for males and 12.39 (6.20,
left hands; 6.19, right hands) for females.
Neither bilateral nor sex differences were observed in the pattern intensity index.
Finger ridge counts, a-b-ridge counts and
atd angles
Although the mean total finger ridge count
was higher for the right hand than for the left
Reprint Requests t o Dr Qutub H Qazi, Department of
Pediatrics, 450 Clarkson Avenue, B m k l y n , New York 11203
483
484
QUTUB H. QAZI, HELOUISE C. MAPA AND JAMES WOODS
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hand in both sexes (table 21, the differences
were not significant. The means of total
finger ridge counts of each hand as well as
combined ridge counts for both hands were
significantly higher in males than the corresponding means in females (p < 0.05).
There were neither bimanual nor sex differences in means of a-b ridge counts and atd
angles (table 2 ) .
Palmar patterns
The frequency of occurrence of patterns in
hypothenar, thenar/I, I1 interdigital, I11 interdigital and IV interdigital areas of palms
are shown in table 3. Neither bimanual nor
sex differences were observed for occurrences
of patterns in hypothenar, thenari1 and IV interdigital areas. There were no sex differences
in frequency of the I1 interdigital patterns
which occurred more frequently in the right
hand than in the left hand in both sexes; however, in only female subjects the bimanual
difference (4%left and 14%right) was significant (p< 0.05). Similarly, although there were
no sex differences in occurrence of patterns in
the 111 interdigital area, in both sexes, the
right hand had a higher (p<0.005) frequency
of patterns than the left hand (24% left hands
and 48% right hands in males; 18%left hands
and 41% right hands in females).
The position of the distal axial triradius exceeded 40% of the total palm length (t” triradius) in 1.5% (1% left hands; 2% right
hands) in males and 1%left hands; 1%right
hands) in females.
The C p a l m a r line
The C line was present in over 90% of the
palms of both sexes (table 4). There were no
significant sex differences in the direction of
the line. The ulnar direction was more frequent (p<O.O25) in the left hand than in the
right hand in males but not so in females. The
radial direction was significantly more frequent in right hands than in left hands of
males (p<0.005), and also more frequent in
right hands than in left hands of females
(p<0.05).
Palmar creases
The Simian crease and its variants were
scored following the classification of Hook et
al. (’74). The classic Simian crease was found
in both hands of 1%of the males and none of
485
DERMATOGLYPHICS OF AMERICAN BLACKS
TABLE 2
Mean values of total finger ridge count, maximal atd angle, and a-b ridge count by hand and sex in American Blacks
Female (n=2001
Mean-tS.D.
Male (n = 200)
Mean? S.D.
Total finger ridge
count
a - b ridge count
Maximal atdangle
Left
Right
Both hands
Left
Right
Both hand6
59.4k21.0
37.5+ 5.4
45.6? 6.2
62.7220.1
36.8-t 6.3
4 5 . 2 ~6.2
122.0240.1
74.3P11.0
90.8r11.8
53.1 t 22.8
38.1- 6.0
45.4-t 6.1
56.52 22.4
36.72 5.9
44.7- 6.5
109.7- 44.4
74.9211.0
90.1*12.0
TABLE 3
Percentage pattern frequencies on right and left palms of American Blacks
Male
(n= 100)
Hypothenar
Thenarll
I1 interdigital
111interdigital
IV interdigital
t” triradius
Female
In = 100)
Left
Right
Both hands
Left
Right
Both hands
27.0
10.0
12.0
24.0
84.0
1.0
24.0
3.0
19.0
48.0
77.0
2.0
25.5
6.5
15.5
36.0
80.5
1.5
34.0
6.0
4.0
18.0
85.0
1.0
31.0
4.0
14.0
41.0
72.0
1.0
32.5
5.0
9.0
29.5
78.5
1.0
TABLE 4
Percentage dmtrabution of the modal types of C palmar line
Ulnar
Sex
Male(n=100)
Female (n=100)
Radial
of
American Blacks
Proximal
Absent
Lefl
Right
Left and
right
Left
Right
Left and
right
Left
Right
Left and
right
57.0
60.0
40.0
48.0
48.5
54.0
20.0
21.0
42.0
35.0
31.0
28.0
10.0
11.0
12.0
9.0
11.0
10.0
Left
Right
13.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Left and
right
9.5
8.0
TABLE 5
Percentage frequencies of hallucal patterns an American Blacks
Female In= 100)
Male (n = 1001
Patterns
Arch tibial
Small loop dmtal
Large loop distal
Vestigeal loop distal
Loop tibial
Whorl
Tented arch
Arch fibular
LWDfibular
Opekieldiopen field
Left
Right
1.0
2.0
10.0
2.0
20.0
59.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
6.0
0.0
2.0
16.0
3.0
19.0
55.0
0.0
0.0
2.0
3.0
the females; it occurred unilaterally in 1%of
the males and 1.5%of the females. The Simian
crease variants were found only unilaterally
in 3% of males and 1%of females. The complete Sidney line occurred bilaterally in 1% of
Left t
Right
Left
Right
Left +
Right
0.5
2.0
13.0
2.5
19.5
57.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
4.5
0.0
4.0
13.0
0.0
22.0
53.0
0.0
1.0
2.0
5.0
0.0
4.0
19.0
0.0
18.0
52.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
5.0
0.0
4.0
16.0
0.0
20.0
52.5
0.0
1.0
1.5
5.0
the males and unilaterally in 1%and 1.5%of
male and female subjects, respectively.
Hallucal patterns
The plantar hallucal patterns did not show
486
QUTUB H. QAZI, HELOUISE C. MAPA AND JAMES WOODS
index (13.04 for males and 12.39 for females
versus 11.9 for males and 11.2 for females)
than those in the group studied by Steinberg
et al. However, the means of total finger ridge
counts of our subjects were closely similar
(p>0.05) to those found by Steinberg e t al.
(119.0, S.D. 41 for males and 106.5. S.D. 47 for
females). There were also similarities in freDISCUSSION
quencies of palmar patterns in the two popuThe only significant bimanual differences lations. The significant differences were obnoted in the present sample are: (1)a higher served only in the occurrence of patterns in
frequency of patterns in the second inter- the Thenar/I (p<0.005) and I11 interdigital
digital area in the right hand of females (p<0.025) areas in both sexes. In both in(p< 0.05) and (2) a higher frequency of I11 in- stances the subjects in the other study had
terdigital patterns in the right hands of both higher frequency of patterns. Our female subsexes (p < 0.005). These bilateral differences jects had a higher pattern frequency in the
have been observed by Steinberg et al. ('75). hypothenar area (p<O.Ol) than the female
The significant sex differences included an subjects in the other study. No significant difexcess of digital arch patterns in females ferences were noted in the modal types of C
(p<0.05) and a higher mean finger ridge lines and atd angles in the two groups.
Comparison of our dermatoglyphic data for
count in males (p<0.025). Such sex differences have also been previously described American Blacks with those for North American Caucasians (Schaumann and Alter, '76)
(Steinberg et al., '75).
In their article, Steinberg e t al. ('75) com- shows significant differences between the two
pared t h e dermatoglyphics of American groups. Compared to Caucasians, Blacks in
Negroes to the characteristics of Negro popu- our study have (1)higher frequency of whorls
lations such as African Bushmen, African and lower frequency of radial loops (p < 0.005)
Pygmies and other African Negroes, derived on digits of both sexes, (2) lower frequency of
from numerous studies. They found a number ulnar loops (p<0.05) in females and lower freof similarities of dermatoglyphics between quency of arch patterns (p<0.005) in males,
different Negro subgroups. Within Negro pop- (3) lower mean total finger ridge count in
ulations there was very little variation in males (p<O.OOl), (4) higher frequency of I1
the digital pattern frequencies, although the interdigital and IV interdigital patterns in
African Bushmen have higher values of both sexes (p < 0.005) and lower frequency of
arches than other subgroups. American Ne- hypothenar patterns in males (p<0.005), (5)
groes were found t o be more similar to the lower frequency of ulnar direction of modal
other African Negroes than t o the African C-line in females (p<0.05) and lower frequenPygmies or African Bushmen. The modal cy of radial direction of C-line in males
types of the C line of the American Negroes (p<O.O25), (6)lower mean a-b ridge count in
were similar in frequencies to those of the both sexes (p<O.OOl), (7) higher mean atd
African Negroes. The palmar pattern frequen- angle in males (p<O.OOl), and (8) lower frecies of the American Negroes, in general, con- quency of distal loops (p<0.005) and tibial
formed to those of the other Negro subgroups. loops (p<0.025) in the hallucal patterns of
Our findings of dermal patterns of Ameri- both sexes. Only 1.25% of Black subjects in
can Blacks living in the New York area are, to our study had t" triradius compared to 11.8%
some extent, similar to those of American of Canadian Caucasians studied by Walker
Blacks enrolled in the Collaborative Perinatal ('57).
The present study has confirmed the racial
Study of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes (Steinberg et al., and sex variations in the dermatoglyphics of
'75). Both male and female subjects in our Black Americans. Statistically significant
study group had a higher frequency of whorls differences in the type and frequency of pat(p< 0.005), lower frequency of ulnar loops terns exist not only between the Caucasian
(p<O.Ol), lower frequency of arch patterns and Black subjects, but even among the peo(p<0.05), and a higher pattern intensity ple of apparently similar racial backgrounds
either sex or lateral differences (table 5). The
three most frequent hallucal patterns were
whorls (57% in males and 52.5% in females),
tibial loops (19.5% in males and 209: in
females) and large distal loops (13%in males
and 16% in females). The other hallucal patterns occurred with a frequency of 5%or less.
DERMATOGLYPHICS OF AMERICAN BLACKS
such as groups of American Blacks studied by
Steinberg et al. ('75) and by us. It must be
stressed that these differences are important
enough that they be taken into consideration
while evaluating dermatoglyphics in clinical
situations.
LITERATURE CITED
Cummins, H., and C. Midlo 1943 Finger Prints, Palms and
Soles. Blakiston Co., Philadelphia.
Hook, E. B., R. Bonenfant, M. L. Powers, M. Greenberg and
L. R. Shapiro 1974 The human Simian crease and its
487
variants: a model for investigation of serious congenital
malformations. Birth Defects: Original Article Series X,
No. 7, 7-16,
Plato, C. C. 1970 Polymorphism of the C line: with a new
classification of the C line terminations. Am. J. Phys.
Anthrop., 33: 413-420.
Schaumann, B., and M. Alter 1976 Dermatoglyphics in
Medical Disorders. Springer-Verlag, New York, Heidelberg, Berlin.
Steinberg, F. S., J. J. Cereghino and C. C. Plato 1975 The
dermatoglyphics of American Negroes. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., 42: 183-194.
Walker, N. F. 1957 The use of dermal configurations in
the diagnosis of mongolism. J. Pediatr., 50: 19-26.
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