East Afr Med J. 2014 Nov;91(11):420-2.


Background: Genetic variability is a common feature of many organisms. The existence of genetic variation in man is caused by many factors along with selection, migration, gene flow and genetic drift. Human genetics are known as hereditary traits, these hereditary traits include the dominant and recessive traits in humans. Most of the genes are transmitted in the Mendelian pattern and a few are transmitted through the non-Mendelian pattern.

Objective: To show variation pattern in earlobe attachment, hair line distribution and presence or absence of cheek dimples and to determine prevalence of these traits among the Esan ethnic group of Southern Nigeria.

Design: Descriptive study.

Setting: The target populations for this study are the Esan ethnic group of Southern Nigeria. Esan land is bordered to the south by Benin City, to the east by Agbor City, to the north by Etsako and to the west by River Niger.

Subject: A simple random sampling technique was used to select 400 volunteered subjects (176 males, 224 females). They were between the ages of 17-60. Their parents and grandparents were from Esan backgrounds. Data on cheek dimple (present or absent), widow's peak or straight hairline and earlobe attachment was gathered.

Result: Results showed 12.5% of Males and 21.3% of females had cheek dimples while 31.5% of males and 34.7% of female had no dimple. 29.0% Males and 40.0% females had unattached earlobe while 15.0% Males and 16.0% females had their earlobes attached. Results for widow's peak showed 14.7% males and 16.5% females had widow's peak while 29.3% males and females 39.5% didn't have a peak. The chi-squared analysis of variance showed that there is a no significant difference between gender for earlobe attachment, hair line variation and cheek dimple (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: The study concluded that these traits varies in the population but do not vary with gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ear
  • Ethnicity / genetics*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Hair
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Young Adult