Laboratory notes written during the preparation of an autoradiograph of the first genetic fingerprint, Leicester England, 1984
Written by Alec Jeffreys, these laboratory notes detail the process of making the autoradiograph of the first genetic fingerprint. Apart from identical twins, everybody’s DNA has a characteristic pattern. Similarities in patterns can identify family members. Sir Alec (b. 1950) is an English geneticist who discovered genetic fingerprinting almost by accident while working at the University of Leicester. It has now become an invaluable police tool, identifying criminals from blood, skin or saliva left at crime scenes.
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DNA stores the information, or blueprints, of every cell and is located in the genes. It is made up of two strands which form a double helix that is linked by hydrogen bonds. It was first described in 1953 by Francis Crick and James Watson.
A photograph of an object containing radioactive material. The image is created on a photo-sensitive plate by the radiation contained within the object.
Glossary: laboratory notes
Glossary: genetic fingerprinting
A technique which matches DNA sequences obtained from bodily fluids, in order to determine an individual's identity. Often used to determine possible genetic relations, or link a suspected criminal to a crime scene.