Cleft chin: The myth

Some people have a prominent dimple or crease in the front of the chin, called a cleft chin (or "butt chin"); others carry out not. This is occasionally said to be regulated by a solitary gene through two alleles, v cleft chin (C) dominant to smooth chin (S). The tiny amount of genetic data that is accessible shows the this myth is not true; in addition, over there are many chins that room intermediate between clearly cleft and smooth.

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The reality

Cleft chin as a character

Cleft chins come in a selection of shapes, including vertical furrows, Y-shaped furrows, and also round dimples (Günther 1939). They additionally vary in depth indigenous barely noticable to extremely prominent (Bhanu and also Mahhotra 1972). Ns looked through a collection of United says Senators (because castle have big official portraits online) and picked out the persons that had actually some note of a slot chin, in addition to a few smooth-chinned senators because that comparison. As you have the right to see, there are a lot of of world with vague depressions in the center of the chin, and couple of with really unambiguous furrows or dimples. I uncover it tough to attract a clear boundary between cleft and smooth chins in this pictures.

Which that these would certainly you contact cleft chins?

The frequency of slot chin varies widely amongst different populations; Indian populations selection from 4 to 71 percent cleft chin (Bhanu and Malhotra (1972). Günther (1939) taped cleft chins in 9.6 percent that German men and 4.5 percent that German women. The big difference in frequency between men and also women does not fit the simple genetic model of cleft chin being identified by a solitary autosomal (non-sex-linked) gene. Bhanu and also Malhotra (1972) videotaped the frequency of slot chin in Indian boys and men of different ages. They stated there to be no distinction in frequency of slot chin among age groups, using a chi-square test, but when I analysis the data making use of logistic regression, I get a significant (P=0.03) rise in cleft chin through age; about 5% of boys 6 to 10 years old have actually cleft chins, while 10% of men over 35 have actually a cleft chin. This readjust with period is likewise evidence against the simple genetic model.

Family studies

Lebow and also Sawin (1941) an initial suggested the cleft chin was a hereditary character, based upon data native a single family. They said that cleft chin to be recessive, although lock admitted that they didn"t have definitive evidence.

There is one unpublished dissertation through Pfannenstiel (1951), which i haven"t seen, that concludes that cleft chin is dominant, but affected by the environment (cited in Beckman et al. <1960>). Beckman et al. (1960) report the complying with data from swedish 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 could not have actually a child with a slit chin. While over there is certainly a strong genetic influence, as parents through cleft chins have actually a greater proportion the cleft-chin offspring than do parents without cleft chins, the 4 cleft-chinned offspring indigenous smooth X smooth parents do not to the right the myth that cleft chin is established by a dominant allele.


Many people have chins that room intermediate between plainly cleft and clearly smooth, and also the family studies execute not right the myth the cleft chin is caused by a dominant allele. You should not usage cleft chin come demonstrate an easy genetics.


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

Bhanu, V., and also K.C. Malhotra. 1972. A populace genetic examine of slit chin in India. American journal 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 also P.B. Sawin. 1941. Inheritance of human facial features: a pedigree study involving length the face, prominent 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 page was critical revised December 8, 2011. Its attend to is It may be cited as pp. 23-25 in: McDonald, J.H. 2011. Myths of human Genetics. Sparky home Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland.©2011 by man H. McDonald. You deserve to probably carry out what girlfriend want v this content; see the permissions web page for details.