What Makes You So You?

2 min read

Have you ever wondered where your fingerprint comes from? Your fingerprint is so unique that no two people will end up with the same fingerprint, even identical twins!

Fingerprints are little ridges on the tips of your fingers. They are folds of the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Fingerprints start to form when a fetus grows in the womb in the 10th week after conception. Thereafter, a layer of keratin starts to coat the surface on the skin and secondary ridges form due to the uneven keratin growth.

Any factor can influence the patterns, such as the density of the amniotic fluid, fetus’s size, location, movement patterns and even genetics! Multiple genes are involved which control the development of the various layers under the skin. Hence you do share some similar patterns with your family members.

Due to this fantastic piece of Science, the world has made use of this to their advantage by scanning one’s fingerprint instead of the mere use of passwords to increase security of systems. Take for example, the SingPass Mobile App, which allows Singaporeans access to any e-government services by scanning their fingerprints. The clever software turns the information into digital code, and compares it to other data collected from fingerprints, looking for a match!

On top of fingerprints, softwares are also “clever” enough to pick out your facial expressions or retina patterns! They do all these with a very high degree of accuracy. 


  1. When and how fingerprints form – https://lozierinstitute.org/dive-deeper/when-and-how-fingerprints-form/
  2. How did I get my unique set of fingerprints? – https://theconversation.com/how-did-i-get-my-own-unique-set-of-fingerprints-128391 
  3. Are fingerprints determined by genetics? – https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/traits/fingerprints/ 
  4. New SingPass Mobile app allows users to log into government e-services by scanning fingerprints or faces – https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/new-singpass-mobile-app-allows-users-to-log-into-government-e-services-by-scanning 

Written by Sarah Lah
Illustrated by Lee Ai Cing


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