What is DNA Fingerprinting and How is it Used?

Basically, DNA fingerprinting is a systematic method that is used in identifying an individual from a DNA sample. Many refer to it as generic fingerprinting. Over the years it has been used for the sole purpose of identification through the use of biological samples like hair, semen, and blood through unique patterns in the DNA.

In the year 1984, a British scientist name Alec Jefferys elaborated on the DNA fingerprinting, back then he used a technique that was focused on the sequence in a DNA sample and he later referred to it as minisatellites, because they contain patterns that look very much alike. But he was not able to figure out the functions of these repeating patterns back then.

The sequence the DNA of every individual on the planet is unique, with the exception of twins that are identical. Today, there are several DNA methods that are available, which uses either (RFLP) or (PCR) that focus on the different sections of the DNA especially the repeating polymorphic region. You can learn more about how else it has been used in the medical field here.

The chances of identifying a person through the use of a DNA sample depends to a large extent on the repeating sequence that is tested as well as its size. Forensic scientists have used DNA fingerprinting in probing a particular part of the DNA that is common in all humans. This thus eliminates the possibility of a contamination by external sources from plants, insect, bacteria, fungus and other sources.


The use of DNA fingerprinting today

In recent years, the use of DNA sampling has become popular. Next, we are going to look at some area it is been used.


No doubt, you might have seen in various TV shows and movies, DNA fingerprinting can be used to identify a criminal through the use of a very little amount of the DNA that is probably found on a crime scene. DNA fingerprinting can also be used to exonerate people who have been jailed innocently for a crime that they did not commit. DNA fingerprinting can also be used in identifying a corpse that is decaying.


From time to time, cases pop up here and there, probably to determine if two people are related. DNA fingerprinting is the answer to this because it can provide very detailed and accurate data in no time. Even more, it can be used to establish the relationship between two people especially cases of inheritance.  DNA fingerprinting has also made it possible for family members who have been separated by war or natural disaster to locate their siblings as well as their parents.


DNA fingerprinting is also applicable in the medical field, especially in identifying genetic matches for marrow and organ donation. Recently doctors are now using DNA fingerprinting as a tool for crafting personalized treatment for patients suffering from cancer.  One time, DNA fingerprinting was used to determine if a sample has been labelled properly.


DNA fingerprinting has played a major part in the growth of the agricultural industry. It has basically been used in identifying and modifying heritage plant or plants that have very high therapeutic value. It has also been used to determine how valuable certain animals are. For example, it can be used to determine if racehorse is worth investing in.

In all, DNA testing has played a major role in making comparisons, development as well as treatment. A blood sample is preferred when it comes to DNA sampling and it is has been the best way to determine if two people are a good match genetically and also to establish the relationship between two people.