Dna Fingerprinting Process - Identifying Our Unique Dna Profiles

DNA Fingerprinting Process – Identifying Our Unique DNA Profiles

By: - Science - August 24, 2011
dna fingerprinting process %E2%80%93 identifying our unique dna profiles

No two peoples’ DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is identical unless they are monozygotic (identical) twins. This fact that allows contemporary genetic and forensic science to use sophisticated testing techniques to identify paternity of a child or to distinguish between the bodily fluids of multiple people in order to identify the perpetrator of a crime. The DNA fingerprinting process does not involve full genome sequencing, but instead focuses on the part of each person’s DNA that varies from the next. In high-tech DNA fingerprinting labs, technicians use buccal swabs to analyze each individual’s unique DNA profile. Blood, saliva and semen may also be analyzed. The process begins with collection of one of these tissue samples which is taken to a DNA fingerprinting lab for analysis.

There are a variety of techniques used in DNA fingerprinting labs, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which amplifies certain areas of the DNA, helping technicians analyze even very old or small tissue samples. Short tandem repeats (STR) is a technique that is related to PCR and helps distinguish between people who are not biologically related. Certain areas of chromosomes are amplified and then separated out to be analyzed. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AmpFLP) is a technique that is inexpensive and easy to do, though less effective. Additional techniques used in the DNA fingerprinting process include Y-chromosome analysis and mitochondrial analysis.

Essentially, DNA is personal to each and every person, much like a fingerprint, and the chances of being mis-identified via a DNA analysis is unlikely in the extreme, unless the samples were contaminated before or during the testing process. DNA can be found in every aspect of our bodies, from our hair to our toenails. This means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for criminals to get away with crimes, as we almost always leave some form of DNA laden material behind when we go someplace or do something.

Information gleaned from the DNA fingerprinting process is entered into a central registry that allows cross-referencing between agencies to help link crimes with known offenders. DNA matching is considered very accurate, but there are still laboratory errors and identical twins (with identical DNA) which can complicate the accuracy of the test’s results. Still, DNA evidence is used effectively in many criminal trials. It has also been used to exonerate people who have been behind bars for extended periods of times due to false accusations.

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