Is DNA FINGERPRINTING included in topic "use of chemicals in forensic science"?

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lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly. In order to compare a sample of DNA taken at crime scene to one taken from a suspect, many steps must be taken, all of them involving various types of chemicals. The DNA must first be extracted from the sample, which is usually blood, semen,saliva, or skin cells the victim has scraped from the suspect that are now under the victim's fingernails. Once the DNA is purified, restriction enzymes are used to cut similar fragments of the DNA from the two samples to be compared. They are then subjected to a type of electrophoresis, which separates the DNA into bands. This is transferred from the agarose (of the electrophoresis) to a nylon membrane, treated with radioactively labeled DNA probes (which bind selectively to certain areas of DNA). What results is the sheet of bands, with dark areas of varying widths--you have probably seen these in class. We call these the "fingerprints", not because they have anything to do with the fingers, but because they are unique to individuals, as are fingerprints. Each step of this process involves MANY chemicals; see the below link for more details.

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