Fingerprints - Random or Influenced by Genetics?

Fingerprint Science Fair Project
photo © 2006 Bistra Ivanova, Flickr

Every person's fingerprint is unique, but do genetics have anything to do with the whorls, loops, and arches that make them up or are the patterns truly random? We found a great science fair project idea that explores this very question over at Science Buddies and think it would be a fantastic exploration for middle school age students, grades 6 through 8.

What's great about this project is that you don't need a lot of extra supplies - you simply need an ink pad, paper, a magnifying glass, and some willing participants! For a full supply list, suggestions for background research, a step-by-step procedure, sample data collection worksheet, and a list of variation suggestions, be sure to visit Dr. Sandra Slutz's full project page over at Science Buddies!