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What Is DNA Fingerprinting?

DNA fingerprinting is a method of making an identification of a particular individual and not just a general identification of a species or a specific trait. DNA fingerprinting – also known as genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling – is a technology that has been inexistence since 1985. The technology was invented by Sir Alec Jeffreys. At present, DNA fingerprinting is used for identifying criminals or victims of crimes. It is also used for identifying either paternity or maternity. There is also talk of making a DNA fingerprinting a method for marking personal identification.

A big part of man’s DNA is exactly matched to that of any other human. This makes making distinctions between two people almost impossible to do. With DNA fingerprinting, a specific type of DNA sequence is used. The microsatellite makes identification easier to do. These are short parts of the DNA that repeat a lot of times in a person’s DNA. In a particular area, the microsatellites have a tendency to be very variable, which makes them a good choice for DNA fingerprinting. Comparing the number of microsatellites that are in a particular area will allow for the identification of a particular person.

The sections of DNA that are used in DNA fingerprinting is passed down from parents to their offspring. Even though not all of the sections are passed on, no child will have pairs that his parents won’t also have. By comparing large groups of these particular sections, the paternity and maternity can be determined. DNA fingerprinting has proven to be an effective identification method because of its high success rate and the relatively low false positive rate.

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