Fingerprint: 1. The characteristic dermal ridges on the finger. This is the original meaning of fingerprint. 2. The characteristic pattern of the peptide fragments of a protein that have been subjected to electrophoresis and, at a right angle, chromatography. Peptide fingerprinting was invented by Vernon Ingram in 1957. 3. The characteristic pattern of DNA fragments identified by Southern hybridization or by PCR (polymerase chain reaction). DNA fingerprinting was invented by Alec Jeffreys in 1984.