Leicester academic Professor Mark Jobling to chart the evolution of individual identification at Galton Institute conference

Professor Mark Jobling from our Department of Genetics and Genome Biology will be giving a talk at the Galton Institute conference on 15 November - charting the evolution of individual identification from its earliest inception via fingerprints in 1892, through to the ground-breaking discovery of ‘DNA fingerprints’ at our University in the 80s, and into the present.

His talk, entitled “Fingerprints and Identity”, will begin with a discussion of Francis Galton’s 1892 book “Finger Prints”, which established the formal basis of their individuating properties. This will lead up to the crucial ‘Eureka’ moment at our University in 1984 - when Sir Alec Jeffreys discovered that individuals can be identified through variation in their DNA.

Professor Jobling will then discuss how novel methods have developed thanks to new DNA sequencing technologies, and how some of these methods run the risk of re-racialising genetics - thus coming full circle to some of the problematic areas of Galton’s thinking about human diversity.

Professor Jobling said: "Galton, who was Charles Darwin’s cousin, was a polymath who made many major contributions to biology and statistics. However, he’s mostly remembered today as the inventor of the concept of eugenics. This conference will celebrate his achievements, but also examine some of the more controversial aspects of his work." 

Attendance at the conference is free, but strictly ticketed.