35 years ago this month, a small team of scientists at the University of Leicester published a paper in the journal Nature that changed the world. Written by Alec Jeffreys, Victoria Wilson and Swee Lay Thein, the title, ‘Hypervariable ‘minisatellite’ regions in human DNA’ and the jargon-filled results talking about dispersed tandem-repeats and allelic variations don’t provide much of a clue unless you know what you’re looking at.
But it’s this last sentence of the abstract that’s the real giveaway: “A probe based on a tandem-repeat of the core sequence can detect many highly variable loci simultaneously and can provide an individual-specific DNA ‘fingerprint’ of general use in human genetic analysis.”
In the latest episode of Genetics Unzipped, we take a look at the story of genetic fingerprinting, and some of the very first ways in which this game-changing technique was put to work.
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