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Scholars Day 2007, Wednesday, April 11

The Monkey's Paw, Revisited

Dermatoglyphs (skin ridges, finger prints, etc.) are laid down at the end of the first and early second trimesters of pregnancy in humans, and somewhat earlier in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), after which they remain relatively unchanged. Coincidentally, other systems (central nervous and skeletal systems) are developing at this critical time. Because dermatoglyphs are sensitive to genetic, and intrauterine environmental effects they provide a useful marker of genetic and environmental processes affecting the developing fetus. It is assumed that genetic programming for dermal ridges should favor right-left symmetry, and that deviations from symmetry indicate intrauterine stresses affecting, not only the development of dermatoglyphic patterning, but also other systems developing at this time. This paper reviews recent research on the intrauterine development of dermal patterns, and how the study of dermatoglyphic asymmetry in rhesus macaques may provide insight into the clinical and epidemiological applications of dermatoglyphics.

Presenter: Charles Edwards (Faculty)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 208 Holmes
Time: 11:05 am (Session II)