Cleft chin: The myth

Some human being have a prominent dimple or wrinkle in the former of the chin, dubbed a slot chin (or "butt chin"); others perform not. This is sometimes said to be regulated by a single gene v two alleles, through cleft chin (C) dominant to smooth chin (S). The small amount of hereditary data that is accessible shows that this legend is no true; in addition, over there are countless chins that room intermediate between clearly cleft and smooth.

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The reality

Cleft chin together a character

Cleft chins come in a variety of shapes, including vertical furrows, Y-shaped furrows, and round dimples (Günther 1939). They additionally vary in depth native barely noticable to very prominent (Bhanu and also Mahhotra 1972). I looked through a collection of United states Senators (because lock have huge official portraits online) and also picked the end the persons that had some hints of a slot chin, together with a few smooth-chinned senators because that comparison. Together you deserve to see, there room a lot of of world with faint depressions in the center of the chin, and few with yes, really unambiguous furrows or dimples. I discover it tough to attract a clean boundary in between cleft and smooth chins in this pictures.

Which the these would you contact cleft chins?

The frequency of slot chin different widely amongst different populations; Indian populations selection from 4 to 71 percent slit chin (Bhanu and Malhotra (1972). Günther (1939) tape-recorded cleft chins in 9.6 percent that German men and 4.5 percent of German women. The large difference in frequency between men and women does no fit the simple genetic model of slot chin being figured out by a single autosomal (non-sex-linked) gene. Bhanu and Malhotra (1972) recorded the frequency of slit chin in Indian boys and men of various ages. They said there was no difference in frequency of cleft chin amongst age groups, making use of a chi-square test, however when I analysis the data utilizing logistic regression, I get a far-ranging (P=0.03) increase in slot chin v age; about 5% of guys 6 to 10 years old have actually cleft chins, when 10% of guys over 35 have a slit chin. This change with age is additionally evidence against the an easy genetic model.

Family studies

Lebow and also Sawin (1941) first suggested the cleft chin was a hereditary character, based on data from a single family. They said that slot chin was recessive, although they admitted the they didn"t have actually definitive evidence.

There is an unpublished dissertation by Pfannenstiel (1951), which i haven"t seen, the concludes that cleft chin is dominant, but influenced by the setting (cited in Beckman et al. <1960>). Beckman et al. (1960) report the following data from sweden families:

Parents slit offspring Smooth offspringPercent cleftCleft x Cleft 10 191%Cleft x Smooth 24 2846%Smooth x Smooth 4 3311%

If the myth were true, 2 parents through smooth chins can not have actually a kid with a cleft chin. While over there is absolutely a solid genetic influence, as parents v cleft chins have a higher proportion the cleft-chin offspring than execute parents there is no cleft chins, the 4 cleft-chinned offspring native smooth X smooth parents do not to the right the myth that cleft chin is established by a leading allele.


Many human being have chins that room intermediate between clearly cleft and clearly smooth, and also the family members studies carry out not right the myth that cleft chin is led to by a leading allele. You need to not use cleft chin to demonstrate an easy genetics.


Beckman, L., J.A. Böök, and E. Lander. 1960. An testimonial of some anthropological traits supplied in paternity tests. Hereditas 46: 543-569.

Bhanu, V., and K.C. Malhotra. 1972. A populace genetic study of cleft chin in India. American newspaper of Physical sociology 37: 367-372.

Günther, H. 1939. Anomalien und Anomaliekomplexe in der Gegend des ersten Schlundbogens. Zeitschrift für menschliche Vererbungs- und Konstitutionslehre 23: 43-52.

Lebow, M.R., and P.B. Sawin. 1941. Inheritance of human facial features: a pedigree study involving length that face, influential ears and also chin cleft. Journal of Heredity 32: 127-132.

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OMIM entry

go back to John McDonald"s homepage This web page was critical revised December 8, 2011. Its resolve is It might be cited together pp. 23-25 in: McDonald, J.H. 2011. Myths of person Genetics. Sparky home Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland.©2011 by john H. McDonald. You have the right to probably carry out what girlfriend want through this content; view the permissions page for details.