Because they have an infrequent genetic mutation, a family in Bangladesh lives without fingerprints, and it is believed that it only affects a small number of people in the world.
In a report prepared by the BBC’s Mir Sapir, Abu Sarkar, 22, and the men in his family share a condition that leaves their fingers smooth and free of the unique bumps that form fingerprints.
The lack of fingerprints did not cause Sarker’s grandfather problems, but this has become a difficult matter for Sarker and his family, as fingerprints are now used for everything from passing through airports to unlocking smartphones.
In Bangladesh, providing fingerprints is also necessary for applying for national ID cards, passports, and driver’s licenses.
Sarker’s father, “Amal,” faced obstacles in obtaining each of these important documents. In the end, he obtained an ID card required to vote in the election, stamped “no fingerprints” on it, and obtained a passport after presenting a medical certificate.
But fears of trouble at the airport prevented him from using his passport at all, and his driver’s license was still out of reach.
The lack of fingerprints also caused problems for Sarkar Gubish’s uncle, who had to wait two years to obtain a passport and travel to the capital Dhaka “four or five times” in the process.
The family, who lives in a village in the northern Rajshahi district, is believed to suffer from a rare condition known as dermatoglyphics.