DNA fingerprinting

Chronology of DNA fingerprinting at Leicester


  • Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys joined the University of Leicester.


  • Professor Jeffreys is joint first to describe how to detect human genetic variation at the DNA level, and first to produce a good estimate of how many sites in the genome, where genetic variation occurred.


  • Professor Jeffreys is first to discover DNA fingerprinting.


  • First immigration case solved by DNA fingerprinting.
  • First paternity case solved by DNA fingerprinting.
  • First identification of identical twins using DNA fingerprinting.


  • First criminal investigation to implement DNA fingerprinting evidence.


  • First detailed description of the rate of mutation in humans at the DNA level.

Early 1990s

  • First to develop sperm analysis technology.


  • Identification of Josef Mengele by DNA analysis from skeletal remains.


  • Professor Jeffreys contributes to work by Professor Yuri Dubrova investigating mutations caused by the Chernobyl disaster.


  • First to describe in detail what a recombination ‘hotspot’ is.


  • Work contributing to the ‘International HapMap Project’.

Sir Alec's present research

  • Further analysis of recombination hotspots, what causes them and what affects they have on human genetic diversity?
  • The implications of recombination on genes linked to diseases such as thalassaemia and diabetes.

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