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DNA Fingerprinting

Additional Applications

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DNA fingerprinting is not only useful for criminal investigations and paternity testing.  It is also useful for identification of other life forms including crops, animals, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.  Researchers and biologists use this as a way to help protect endangered species by analyzing their genes and comparing to related animals.  In cows, for example, this process is now being used by cattle breeders to find cows that produce high quality meat.  By selecting the cows with desired characteristics, the next generation of cows will also show these wanted characteristics, such as desireable meat. 

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DNA fingerprinting techniques are often used to identify markers that are inherited along with important traits.  Scientists are involved in the federally-funded Human Genome Project and are working to identify markers along the entire length of human DNA. Similar, though smaller, projects are under way in university and commercial laboratories throughout the world to identify markers for the DNA of cattle, swine, corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice, as well as other organisms of less commercial importance to agricultural producers like mice, fruit flies, and pine trees.
 
One of the more recent applications of DNA fingerprinting is finding human origins.  This process has made it possible to take a sample of DNA and trace it back over time to connect that person with their ancestors. 

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