DNA fingerprinting, also known as DNA testing, DNA profiling or DNA typing, involves collecting cells from an individual’s body. These cells are specific to each and every person, and no two cell profiles are the same. The cells can be taken in different ways, such as swabbing the inside of your mouth, scrapping skin cells from your body, getting DNA from the root of your hair, or getting cells from bodily fluids, such as saliva, sweat or blood. Once the cells are collected, chemicals then separate the DNA from the cells and a DNA profile, or a DNA fingerprint, is extracted. Since DNA is unique to each person, DNA analysis can be used in a lot of unique ways, making it extremely important. Here are some of the unique ways a DNA fingerprint can be used.
Connecting Individuals to Crimes
One of the reasons why DNA fingerprinting is so important is because it is often used to connect individuals to a crime. When a crime is committed, the individual who committed the crime often leaves behind their DNA in some way. They may leave behind skin cells when they touch a door or a window, may leave behind bodily fluids if they sexually assault their victim, or may leave behind blood if they are injured during the course of the crime. Detectives use DNA fingerprinting to connect individuals to crimes or to disconnect suspects to a crime.
Proving the Identity of a Dead Body
Bodies decompose. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to identify dead bodies that may have been buried, placed in water, or may not have been discovered for some time. Another way that DNA fingerprinting is being used these days is to help identify dead bodies that otherwise may be unidentifiable. This can help to bring closure to families who may not know where their loved one is or what happened to them.
Establishing Who Is Related to Who
Most people are familiar with Maury Povich and him telling guests you are the father or you are not the father. But have you ever wondered about the science involved in proving whether someone is or is not the father of a child? DNA fingerprinting is the science involved in determining who the father of a child is. While this science is most commonly used in paternity tests, it can be used to determine if a child put up for adoption has truly found their long-lost mother or if two people share any type of familiar relationship.
Matching Organ Donors with Transplant Patients
DNA fingerprinting is most commonly used to establish paternity or for identifying suspects in a crime. However, DNA fingerprinting is also being used to make some important breakthroughs in the medical community. One of the ways that DNA fingerprinting is being used is to help match organ donors with transplant patients. This type of technology allows doctors to determine who may be the best fit when matching available organs with available transplant patients.
Identifying Disease That Can Be Passed Down Through Families
Another medical use for DNA fingerprinting is to help identify diseases that can be passed down through families. For example, the breast cancer gene, BRCA, is identified using a DNA fingerprint and profile. This type of technology helps doctors determine who may be at risk for certain diseases. This helps these individuals to be monitored for diseases so they can be caught early on and one day may become the key to preventing these diseases from happening altogether.
At Modern Biology, Inc., we are committed to ensuring that students have access to high-quality science experiments and lab equipment. If your students are planning to do science experiments utilizing DNA fingerprinting, our team can help. Contact us today to see what experiment kits we have ready to go and start teaching your class about DNA and how it can affect their life in many different ways.