Image of the Week: DNA Fingerprinting

It’s all in the fingertips…

Wellcome Trust Blog

B0005956 The first DNA fingerprint

This week’s image of the week is one for all the detectives out there. It’s an image of the first ever DNA fingerprint, produced almost exactly 30 years ago, by Professor Sir Alex Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.

“My life changed on Monday morning at 9.05am, 10th September 1984. What emerged was the world’s first genetic fingerprint,” he says.

The image was processed in the university’s darkroom – “I took one look, thought ‘what a complicated mess’, then suddenly realised we had patterns,” says Jeffreys. “There was a level of individual specificity that was light years beyond anything that had been seen before”.

‘Eureka’ moments are few and far between in science (despite what Hollywood might have you believe), but this really was the beginning of a whole new field of science. “We could immediately see the potential for forensic investigations and paternity,” says Jeffreys, “my wife pointed out…

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