Trace shifting is the ability to shapeshift slightly in order to alter the features which make someone recognisable and traceable.
- Ryan Petrelli had this ability naturally.
- Lucia Petrelli gained this ability after she merged her brother with her unborn self.
- Peter Petrelli has absorbed this ability from Lucia in World 2.
- Noah Gray has also absorbed the ability.
- Abbie Gray too has copied it from Lucia.
- Jason Hathaway will have this ability naturally.
The ability can be used to change small details such as fingerprints or footprints, or enough of the DNA to make genetic testing fail. Retinal, iris and dental patterns can be changed, as can the voice through altering the vocal cords. Blood types and tissue types can also be altered. The ability can thus be used to prevent detection and recognition, or to pass as another and get past biometric security measures. Only the trace of the character with the ability can be changed, not those of others. It is possible to change one's traces to mimic another person, produce completely new traces which no one else possesses, or even make oneself have no traces at all. By mimicking the traces of others, one can also analyse and compare these traces, which is how Lucia discovered that Jamie Petrelli was not in fact genetically her cousin.
- Shapeshifting is the ability to alter one's appearance at will
- Metamorphing can also be used to alter appearance
- DNA mimicry and genetic mimicry can copy such features from a DNA sample, as can DNA manipulation
- Human manipulation and body manipulation can also both be used to alter appearance
- DNA sampling can be used to take DNA from a person and use it
- Age shifting is the ability to change one's own age
- Ability shifting is the ability to change one's ability or abilities
- Trace reading can be used to detect and read people's traces