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A family without fingerprints and the long-term harm of sleep skimping in this week’s news

10:21am, August 19, 2011

No fingerprints
Members of a Swiss family who lack fingerprints have a mutation in a gene called SMARCAD1, Eli Sprecher of Tel Aviv University in Israel and colleagues report. The mutation, which also reduces the density of sweat glands in the hands, leads to a problem with a version of the gene’s protein that is made only in the skin, the team writes in the August 12 American Journal of Human Genetics. The researchers don’t yet know whether the gene is involved in creating the pattern of fingerprints or just in building the skin ridges that make up the print. —Tina Hesman Saey

Chronic sleep loss can cause permanent harm
Repeatedly skimping on sleep can add up to permanent health damage, a new study in rats suggests. Carol Everson and Aniko Szabo of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee restricted rats’ sleep in repeated 10-day bouts, with two days in between to r

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