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Fingerprints

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Fingerprint

1. An impression of the inked bulb of the distal phalanx of a finger, showing the configuration of the surface ridges, used as a means of identification.

See: dermatoglyphics, galtons system of classification of fingerprints.

2. Term, sometimes used informally, referring to any analytical method capable of making fine distinctions between similar compounds or gel patterns; e.g., the pattern of an infrared absorption curve or of a two-dimensional paper chromatograph.

3. In genetics, the analysis of dna fragments to determine the identity of an individual or the paternity of a child.

Synonym: genetic fingerprint.