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Science and SocietyHeidelberg Forum

Alec J. Jeffries

Friday, 12 May 2006, 18:00 Kirchhoff Institut, Neuenheimer Feld, Heidelberg

Mit freundlicher Unterst├╝tzung der Manfred Lautenschl├Ąger Stiftung

Professor Sir Alec J. Jeffreys

Department of Genetics, University of Leicester

Genetic fingerprinting: past, present and future

DNA fingerprinting, accidentally invented in 1984, has revolutionised many areas of biology, most notably in forensic and legal medicine. I will describe how DNA typing can be used to solve casework and will review the latest developments, including the creation of major national DNA databases that are already proving extraordinarily effective in the fight against crime. I will discuss how this work also led to the discovery of some of the most unstable regions of human DNA, and how these can be used to study human evolution in real time and to explore the effects of environmental exposure to agents such as radiation on heritable mutations in human DNA.