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Discriminability of Fingerprints of Twins

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 58 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2008 Pages: 109-127
Date Published
January 2008
19 pages

This article presents the results of the discriminability of fingerprints of twins.


Livescans and younger ages of the twin subjects insured good-quality prints, thereby allowing the focus to be on the inherent individuality of fingerprints and one that was not affected by image quality issues. Two studies were conducted of the discriminability of the fingerprints of twins using fingerprint features at levels 1 and 2. The level 1 results, obtained by human visual comparison, show that twins’ fingers have a higher probability of having the same classification (42 percent) than in the case of non-twins (25 percent). Level 2 features were studied using a minutiae-based matching algorithm that provides a similarity score. Implications of the study include (1) that there is more similarity between twin fingers than in the case of two arbitrary fingers, (2) that there is no significant difference between the fingerprints of identical and fraternal twins, and (3) that twins can be successfully discriminated using fingerprints. In summary, the argument for the individuality of fingerprints is strengthened. Figures, tables and references

Date Published: January 1, 2008