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DNA Fingerprinting


DNA fingerprinting has become one of the most common ways of convicting criminals.   Many people are now more informed about the process than they have been in the past, and there is an increasing interest in DNA evidence.

DNA fingerprinting, which is also referred to as DNA profiling, includes any of several similar techniques that can analyze and compare DNA from separate sources. This process is used mainly in law enforcement to identify suspects from hair, blood, semen, or other biological materials found at the scene of a violent crime.

This process works based on the fact that no two people, with the exception of identical twins, have exactly the same DNA sequence, much like a personal barcode.  Also, although only limited segments of a person's DNA are used in the procedure, those segments will always be uniquely different.  DNA fingerprinting is a highly specific process with very little room for error.  The chances of two people having the same identical fingerprint is about one in one billion.  This chance of having the same genetic fingerprint can be decreased by using a larger number of probes in the test.

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This picture shows a scientist analyzing a DNA fingerprint.  The fingerprint was processed after completing many steps, which will be discussed further in the site.



The process of DNA fingerprinting was discovered in 1984 by geneticist Alec J. Jeffreys.  Since then, it has been further researched and the procedure has evolved greatly.  There are now many known uses for DNA fingerprinting, many benefits and limitations to this process, as well as many new advances.

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