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Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 1991;27(2):193-228.

Clinical aspects of dermatoglyphics.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR.


As demonstrated above, considerable progress has been made in the understanding of the associations between dermatoglyphics and various medical disorders, as a result of which dermatoglyphic analysis has been established as a useful diagnostic and research tool in medicine, providing important insights into the inheritance and embryologic development of many studied clinical disorders. Many unanswered questions and misconceptions still remain, though. Further well-designed investigations, avoiding the pitfalls of many earlier studies, will be needed to reevaluate some of the existing claims and to determine the real value of dermatoglyphics in medicine. The benefits of a dermatoglyphic examination in individual patients in clinical genetic practice are clear; a more widespread application of this tool by clinical geneticists and pediatricians should be encouraged. Embryologic and experimental dermatoglyphic studies clearly hold a considerable potential for a better understanding of the factors influencing the development of the epidermal ridge patterns. Utilized together with newly developed methods and insights gained in recent studies of other aspects of dermatoglyphics, they should significantly advance the studies of the relationship between dermatoglyphic variation and medical disorders.

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