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DNA Fingerprinting Technology: Description and Use

The sphere of biology is constantly developing as researchers and scientists around the world make new discoveries and create new technological solutions which benefit the entire humanity. One of the most notable breakthroughs of the past decades was the creation of genetic fingerprinting, which enabled biotechnology to make considerable progress. Invented in 1984, DNA fingerprinting still remains relevant to this day, and it is used in many fields, including criminology.

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DNA fingerprinting has been a dominant technology for several decades now, but its discovery was, to a large extent, accidental. In 1984, Dr. Alec Jeffreys studied patterns of inheritance of different genetic diseases and decided to conduct an experiment to trace a certain type of DNA repeating in family members (Bryant & la Velle, 2018). The experiment performed by Dr. Jeffreys failed to attain its goal; instead, it demonstrated that DNA patterns varied among all of the samples. Thus, it was discovered that every person was likely to have their own DNA unless they had a twin brother or sister. Soon, Dr. Jeffreys understood that his discovery could be used for identifying individuals using their DNA, a technique which today is known as genetic fingerprinting. Dr. Alec Jeffreys said that the discovery was a moment that completely changed his career and made him distance himself from the field of genetic disease research (Bryant & la Velle, 2018). Thus, DNA fingerprinting became an invention that was unexpected yet still made a considerable impact on the sphere of biology.

It is clear that DNA fingerprinting substantially influenced society, but its creation was possible only because of preceding discoveries. One of them is the research into the structure of DNA by Francis Crick and James Watson, which then allowed scientists to establish how DNA could duplicate (Phelan, 2021). Only based on the previous research Dr. Alec Jeffreys was able to make a breakthrough. DNA fingerprinting had a massive influence on society and especially in the field of criminology since it enabled criminal justice agencies to enhance their expertise. For instance, DNA fingerprinting analysis became the main factor behind the acquittal of 200 falsely imprisoned in the United States (Phelan, 2021). Basically, genetic fingerprinting made it possible to determine the real criminals based on their genetic material.

Apart from being used for the purpose of forensics, DNA fingerprinting is also utilized in other important spheres. For instance, the technique is used in the analysis of the genetic diversity of plants, the results of which allow environmentalists and biologists to detect areas in need of new species (Sharma et al., 2018). Moreover, genetic fingerprinting is also successfully used for the establishment of kinship between people. For example, companies 23andMe and MyHeritage, at some point, provided free DNA analysis services to immigrants who wanted to reunite with their families (Kofman, 2018). Thus, DNA fingerprinting is a technique which is used successfully across different spheres and assists professionals in their work.

DNA fingerprinting was invented by Dr. Alec Jeffreys, who made an accidental discovery that revolutionized numerous fields, including criminology, and had a considerable impact on society. Dr. Alec Jeffreys studied the inheritance of genetic diseases when he found that DNA patterns were unique to all people. As a result of the breakthrough finding, DNA fingerprinting was invented, which is used to this day in forensics and other areas. Genetic fingerprinting contributed to the improvement of the criminal justice system enabling state agencies to be more equipped to determine real perpetrators. Additionally, DNA fingerprinting is used for studying the genetic diversity of plants and establishing kinship in people.


Bryant, J., & la Velle, L. (2018). Introduction to bioethics. John Wiley & Sons.

Kofman, A. (2018). DNA testing might help reunite families separated by trump. But it could create a privacy nightmare. The Intercept. Web.

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Phelan, J. (2021). What is life? A guide to biology with physiology (5th ed.). W.H.Freeman.

Sharma, S., Negi, M., & Tripathi, S. (2018). DNA fingerprinting of plants: Applications for conservation and utilisation of bio-resources. The Energy and Resource Institute. Web.

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