genetic fingerprinting

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A technique for establishing an individual's identity, for determining possible genetic relationships with other individuals, or for linking a suspected criminal to a crime scene where a sample of blood, saliva, semen, or tissue was found, by examining certain highly variable sequences of DNA fragments found by restriction mapping, the DNA on which attention is focused being introns, junk DNA, and especially repetitive DNA that are virtually unique to each individual. When only a very small sample of nuclear DNA is available, the polymerase chain reaction is used to amplify it, or mitochondrial DNA is used instead, because it is generally more plentiful in samples of bone, teeth, hair, and faeces. The technique was developed in the early 1980s by the English geneticist Alec (John) Jeffreys (born 1950) and first used as evidence in a murder trial in 1987. Also called DNA fingerprinting or DNA profiling.

Subjects: Psychology.

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