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Biometric-based person recognition poses a challenging problem because of large variability in biometric sample quality encountered during testing and a restricted number of enrollment samples for training. Solutions in the form of adaptive biometrics have been introduced to address this issue. These adaptive biometric systems aim to adapt enrolled templates to variations in samples observed during operations. However, despite numerous advantages, few commercial vendors have adopted auto-update procedures in their products. This is due in part to the limited understanding and limitations associated with existing adaptation schemes. In view of that the topic of adaptive biometrics has not been systematically investigated, this study works towards filling this gap by surveying the topic from a growing body of the recent literature and by providing a coherent view (critical analysis) of the limitations of the existing systems. In addition, the authors have also identified novel research directions and proposed a novel framework. The overall aim is to advance the state-of-the-art and improve the quality of discourse in this field.