Palmar pattern ridge counts were subjected to segregation analysis in an attempt to identify possible major gene effects on these dermatoglyphic traits. The phenotypes considered were total palmar pattern ridge count, and ridge counts for the right interdigital III and IV and left interdigital IV individual palmar areas (sample sizes were too small for the other palmar areas). Evidence of familial resemblance was found for all of the phenotypes studied, and initial evidence for a major effect was found for all but the right palm interdigital III ridge count. However, this initial evidence could be attributed to nongenetic effects in each case, indluding skewness in the trait distribution. Tests for agreement with Mendelian transmission frequencies were found to be very useful in discriminating between a non-Mendelian major effect and a major gene. We concluded against a major gene effect for any of these traits, and multifactorial inheritance remains a plausible alternative explanation for the familial resemblance.