This would be a useful trait for the aspiring supervillian. Natalie Villacorta wrote recently in Science:
In 2007, a Swiss woman in her late 20s had an unusually hard time crossing the U.S. border. Customs agents could not confirm her identity. The woman’s passport picture matched her face just fine, but when the agents scanned her hands, they discovered something shocking: she had no fingerprints.
The woman, it turns out, had an extremely rare condition known as adermatoglyphia. Peter Itin, a dermatologist at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, has dubbed it the “immigration delay disease” because sufferers have such a hard time entering foreign countries. In addition to smooth fingertips, they also produce less hand sweat than the average person. Yet scientists know very little about what causes the condition.
Since nine members of the woman’s extended family also lacked fingerprints, Itin and his colleagues, including Eli Sprecher, a dermatologist at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, suspected that the cause might be genetic. So they collected DNA from the family—one of only four ever documented with ADG — and compared the genomes of family members with ADG with those of members who had normal fingerprints. The researchers found differences in 17 regions that were close to genes. Then they sequenced these genes, expecting to identify the culprit …
Read More: Science