What is DNA Fingerprinting?
DNA Fingerprinting is a procedure whereby the genetic information, called DNA, in a person's cells is analysed and identified.
The word fingerprinting is used because, just like a fingerprint, no two person's genetic code is exactly the same.
This makes DNA fingerprinting
a very useful tool for our modern society.
It can be used to:
How are samples obtained for use in DNA Fingerprinting?
- Determine Family Relationship - DNA can help find out who a person's parents or siblings are. Prenatal paternity tests are available to mothers who need to identify the father of their unborn babies.
- Detect Inherited Diseases - Your genetic code can be tested to determine your likelihood of getting certain diseases.
- Prove Guilt or Innocence - DNA left at the scene of a crime can be matched with a sample from a suspect.
- Identify a Dead Body - The DNA from an unidentified body can be matched with a person in a government DNA database.
A small sample of hair, skin, blood, saliva, or other bodily fluid is all that is needed.
DNA fingerprinting at DNA testing centers
is done by having blood taken from a vein with a needle.
Although less accurate than a test done on-site at a lab, the sample for completing a Home DNA Test
is obtained with a mouth swab.
The swab is then mailed to a lab and the results are returned to the testee some time afterwards.