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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:
  • 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.
How are samples obtained for use in DNA Fingerprinting?
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.