Interviewee: Alec Jeffreys.
In 1984, Alec Jeffreys produced the first DNA fingerprint. DNA-based testing methods have evolved over the years, but they still use DNA repeats as the basis for building a DNA profile.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Human Identification > Profiling>The first DNA fingerprints >The first set of results)
That first murky, horrible-looking DNA fingerprint, that came out of the developing tank at, nine o'clock in the morning on a Monday. And it was really, I mean that was a magic moment, I mean, I think my first reaction to looking at the film was, ooh this looks a bit of a murky mess. But then I stopped and thought wait a minute, we've actually got some fantastically variable patterns here. I don't think the term DNA fingerprinting had actually come into my mind then, but we saw the potential for individualization. So first reaction, I thought, well first of all my God, we've solved a very different problem here. Not only have we got access to these really good genetic markers for mapping genes and chromosomes and so on, but we've got a method of biological identification. And so immediately started thinking of forensics, you know, could you use this in criminal investigations, you know, could DNA survive in crime scene samples? Could you match samples with suspects and so on? So those ideas came into my mind very quickly. Then we spotted from the little family group on that first autoradiograph, that the patterns seemed to be fairly simply inherited as far as one could tell, you know, the child made up of half of mum's bands and half of dad's. So that immediately said, if that's true we've got a method possibly of establishing family relationships, and that meant paternity disputes, which traditionally had always been sort of analyzed by blood group testing. And those were good systems, but you know, you could see here this was going to be something a lot more powerful and definitive.
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