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Biometric methods are increasingly being used all over the world for individual identification and authentication. Most methods are complex, however, the use of fingerprints are less complex, cheaper, readily available and thus widely used compared to other modalities. There are three basic fingerprint patterns which are the arches, loops and whorls. The availability of fingerprinting has exposed more cases of adermatoglyphia which is clinically defined as the loss of fingerprints. It can be congenital or acquired, reversible or irreversible. Diagnosis of mostly the congenital forms will require molecular genetic analysis which may be difficult to access in this part of the world and volar pad biopsy which individuals may not consent to. The need for alternative modalities of identification should be in place in cases where fingerprinting is an issue. This article will highlight the fingerprint patterns, the prevalence and aetiology of adermatoglyphia. It will also review the challenges faced when diagnosing adermatoglyphia and future prospects which includes other advanced biometric methods for patients.
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