Inbreeding Effects on Bilateral Asymmetry of Dermatoglyphic Patterns


  • Arindam Mukherjee

    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta, Calcutta 700019, India
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, 409 Carpenter Building, University Park, PA 16802
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Bilateral correlations are higher and bilateral variances within indiciduals smaller in the samples of inbred individuals than in matched control groups of the same sex for pattern intensities on fingers in four series of data and also for pattern intensities on palms, toes, and soles and the palmer main line indices in the data collected from a Muslim population of West Bengal. This trend is not apparent in two series of data from the Yanadi tribe, in which the inbred and noninbred samples are not controlled for random variation of genes and environment. Increased variances between individuals and changes in means and distributions of the traits in the inbred samples of the matched data indicate some influence of homozygosity of genes for the traits on their asymmetry. The reduced variability of asymmetry of the traits in the inbred cannot be explained by homozygosity of genes for either directional or absolute asymmetry. One possible explanation is that heterozygotes for these dermatoglyphic traits are more responsive to environmental stress than homozygotes and/or increased selection in the homozygotes against genetic disorders associated with dermatoglyphic asymmetry may reduce the variability of such asymmetry.