Facts About DNA Fingerprinting

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DNA fingerprinting is a unique method of fingerprinting which cannot be altered by any known treatment. Due to this uniqueness, DNA fingerprinting has become the primary method for identifying and distinguishing between humans. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the chemical name for the molecule inheritance that is responsible for  growth, organization, and development of cells. DNA is found in all cells of living organisms.

Fact 1. DNA fingerprint technology is able to diagnose inherited disorders in adults, children, and unborn babies.

Fact 2. All living organisms are determined by information contained within the DNA which is inherited from the parents. The molecular structure of DNA can be viewed as a zipper with each tooth represented by the letters A, C, G, or T with the opposite side forming a unique combination.

Fact 3.  The traits in a human being are found in the combination of letters known as the DNA code. All living organisms that have different characteristic have different DNA sequences. The more different the organisms, the greater the variability in the DNA sequences. DNA fingerprinting is a quick way to compare the DNA sequences of two living organisms.

Fact 4.  For testing of DNA fingerprinting, the first step is the isolation of the DNA for which a small amount of tissue from the body is required.

Fact 5.  The second step is called cutting, sizing, and sorting where special enzymes, called restriction enzymes, are used to cut the DNA. For example, the enzyme EcoR1 found in bacteria will cut DNA when the sequence GAATTC occurs.

Fact 6. The DNA pieces will then be sorted according to size by a sieving technique known as electrophoresis where the DNA pieces are sieved through a seaweed called agarose.

Fact 7. The third step is to transfer the DNA to nylon by placing the sheet on gel and soaking it overnight. The addition of radioactive probes to the sheet produces the DNA fingerprint. The probe sticks to one or two specific places on the nylon sheet.

Fact 8.  The final DNA fingerprint is built by using additional probes totaling 5-10 or more probes. The final structure resembles bar codes used in electronic scanning.

Fact 9. DNA fingerprinting can be used to diagnose inherited disorders in prenatal and newborn babies including: cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s , sickle cell anemia, and thalassemia.

Fact 10. The U.S. police and FBI have been using DNA fingerprinting to link suspects to biological evidence: blood, semen stains, hair, or items of clothing found at crime scenes.

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