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Disease Profile

Developmental prosopagnosia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Face blindness; Prosopagnosia, developmental; Prosopagnosia, congenital;


Eye diseases


Developmental prosopagnosia is a lifelong condition that impairs a person's ability to recognize faces, in the absence of sensory visual problems and intellectual impairment.[1] People with this condition have normal intelligence and memory, typical low-level vision, and no history of brain injury. They typically learn to use non-face cues including voice, walking style (gait) and hairstyle to recognize others.[2][3] Symptoms that may vary include whether a person can perceive facial expressions normally, or recognize objects normally.[2] The underlying genetic cause of developmental prosopagnosia is not yet known.[4][5] Familial reports of this condition are consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance.[1][5]

Developmental prosopagnosia differs from acquired prosopagnosia, in which a person develops face recognition difficulties as a result of brain injury (for example, from a stroke or trauma).[3]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
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Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal dominant inheritance
Face blindness

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These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Developmental prosopagnosia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. Kniffin CL. PROSOPAGNOSIA, HEREDITARY. OMIM. March 3, 2009; https://www.omim.org/entry/610382.
  2. Gray KL, Bird G, Cook R. Robust associations between the 20-item prosopagnosia index and the Cambridge Face Memory Test in the general population. R Soc Open Sci. March 1, 2017; 4(3):https://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/3/160923.
  3. Cook R, Biotti F. Developmental prosopagnosia. Curr Biol. April 25, 2016; 26(8):R312-313.
  4. Fisher K, Towler J, Eimer M. Face identity matching is selectively impaired in developmental prosopagnosia. Cortex. April, 2017; 89:11-27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28189665.
  5. Cattaneo Z, Daini R, Malaspina M, Manai F, Lillo M, Fermi V, Schiavi S, Suchan B, Comincini S. Congenital prosopagnosia is associated with a genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene: An exploratory study. Neuroscience. December 17, 2016; 339:162-173. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27693815.