How Rare is that Fingerprint? Computational Forensics Provides the First Clues

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Crime scene forensic analysis has long functioned on the premise that a person’s unique identity is hidden in the tiny loops and swirls of their fingerprints, but teasing that information out of the incomplete prints left at crime scenes is still an inexact science, at best.

Now, a University at Buffalo professor — who in 2001 provided the first scientific evidence that fingerprints truly are unique — has developed a way to computationally determine the rarity of a particular fingerprint and, thus, how likely it is to belong to a particular crime suspect.

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