DNA fingerprinting (also known as DNA typing) is a special technique used to identify individuals based on their DNA profiles. One of the important uses of this technique is to provide reliable and credible evidence in courts. Other uses of the technique are for identifying one’s paternity and maternity as well as for personal identification. In several countries, the national government has DNA databases, which contain the DNA structures of citizens. To know more about this technique, let us take a look at the history of DNA fingerprinting.
History of DNA Profiling
Who invented DNA fingerprinting? DNA profiling was invented by scientist Sir Alec Jeffreys in his laboratory at the University of Leicester in Great Britain in 1985. The reason behind the invention of the technique is to identify which parts of the DNA sequences are different from an individual to another. However, at this time, the technologies that they can use to determine the sequences were limited. In this regard, Jeffreys only found small differences in the sequence when in fact; there are numerous variable sequences in the DNA.
Jeffreys continued searching for techniques that can be used to identify all the varying sequences named as minisatellites. In order to succeed, he created a special probe that would be used to check if the minisatellites would react with a myoglobin gene. To do the experiment, he got DNA samples from his parents.
On September 10, 1984, Jeffreys saw an inheritance pattern between the samples. He found out that DNA fingerprinting is a highly efficient technique that can be used to identify one’s paternity as well as maternity. He reported his findings in lectures and reports. He also published research at the Nature magazine about the technique. Two weeks after he invented the technique, a lawyer contacted him and asked if he could use DNA fingerprinting to resolve a case about immigration.
Additional Information and Other Important Details
The process of DNA profiling is complex. It begins with a DNA sample, typically known as reference sample. Afterwards, sample would be placed in a container and would undergo the restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. In this process, the genes used for restriction enzyme digestion were identified. As soon as the analysis was done, the sample would undergo the polymerase chain reaction analysis as well as the short tandem analysis. The final three steps are the amplified fragment length polymorphism, Y-chromosome analysis and the mitochondrial analysis. To secure the findings, the results are usually saved in DNA databases.