6 Fingers? I thought it Was 5!

Maeve Goldman

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On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, Mr. Messler was telling his math class  about how we have ten fingers on each hand and that’s why we have the base 10 number system. That’s when Anika Gandhi raised her hand. Anika said that one day when she was browsing the web, she stumbled across an article about how in our dominant gene, we have six fingers on our  hands instead of five. She later said that the website she had been looking at was the popular news site Buzzfeed, and that the reason she had raised her hand was to ask if we would have  a base 12 numeral system.  She never actually ended up saying more than the statement listed above because Mr. Messler and the whole class would think she was crazy. But Anika still wouldn’t budge, so after class she told me to research it.  It turns out that she was right.

Making a hand sounds like something our body would just do automatically but it is actually really complicated. In order to make a hand you have to have the right type of genes and they have be able to do specific things. In many cases, if you have one altered gene or there are changes in the way the gene operates, it can lead to extra fingers. When people or animals are born with extra fingers, this typically dominant trait is called polydactyly. In a much rarer case, people sometimes are born without fingers, which is called ectrodactyly.

Having six fingers is rare because genes that give you six fingers are not common. But if one of your parents had the polydactyl gene, then you would be likely to get itf neither of your parents had it than you would have almost no chance of getting it. In some areas, a founding member carried the gene and passed it on to the next generation. . So sometimes,  it’s actually common to have extra or missing fingers. If you have two recessive (a recessive gene is a gene that gets trumped by a dominant gene) genes then you’ll get that gene, but if you have one recessive and one dominant gene, then usually the dominant gene will overpower the recessive gene. If you get the dominant gene, then you usually get an extra finger and if you get the recessive you have five fingers. In conclusion, having five fingers is actually the recessive gene and believe it or not if you have six fingers than you have the dominant gene!


Interview with Anika

Maeve Goldman: What was your reaction when you read the article?


Anika Gandhi: Well, when I first read the article I was confused because it was rare to see someone with 6 fingers. To be honest I really didn’t think that it would be the dominant gene because majority of the world has five fingers on each hand and so I was confused on why it would be the dominant trait and not the recessive.


Maeve Goldman: Did you think that it was real when you first saw the picture?

Anika Gandhi: At first I thought it was just a glove, but then I took a second look and I saw that there was no glove it was real!


Maeve Goldman: Now Anika will tell us her side of the story.
Anika Gandhi: We were in math class and we were talking about the base 10 number system and Mr. Messler said that we had the base 10 number system because we have 10 fingers on our hands. Then I remembered that one day when I was browsing on the internet I saw that I that dominant gene is supposed to have 6 fingers on each of our hands, so we really should be the base 12 number system I told Mr. Messler that and he looked very confused. Then when I got back to homeroom, I googled it, and showed it to Maeve Goldman, who’s interviewing me. Then I sent the email, and I reread the article and saw that it was actually really interesting. And the reason I had never seen anyone with six fingers was the fact that they are very rare. Maeve showed me the genetic website where I could prove that I was right about the dominant gene.

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