Erlich Develops DNA Fingerprinting from a Single Hair (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Erlich’ DNA fingerprinting technique allowed determination of the identify of an individual from the DNA in a single hair.
Summary of Event
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fingerprinting is the identification of an individual from a biochemical description of their unique genetic makeup. Every human has approximately 100,000 genes in the chemical form of DNA. The genetic information coded in these genes is variable enough so that no two humans, except for identical twins, have exactly the same genetic code. The genetic variability among humans is expressed through differences in obvious traits such as eye color and genetic disorders such as hemophilia; however, more genetic variability is hidden from view and can be detected only by direct biochemical analysis of DNA itself. Direct chemical analysis of DNA reveals so much variation in the genetic code from one person to the next that a biochemical description of even a small part of the entire genetic code can identify an individual’s unique combination of genetic traits. A description of one’s DNA that is detailed enough to distinguish it from any other person’s DNA is a genetic “fingerprint.”
Genetic fingerprints can be used in place of traditional fingerprints, for purposes of identification, to match samples of dried blood, skin, hair, or semen of suspects in criminal investigations or to determine paternity with virtual...
(The entire section is 2165 words.)
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