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Positive identification of an immigration test-case using human DNA fingerprints


The human genome contains a set of minisatellites, each of which consists of tandem repeats of a DNA segment containing the ‘core’ sequence, a putative recombination signal in human DNA1. Multi-allelic variation in the number of tandem repeats occurs at many of these minisatellite loci. Hybridization probes consisting of tandem repeats of the core sequence detect many hypervariable minisatellites simultaneously in human DNA1, to produce a DNA fingerprint that is completely individual-specific and shows somatic and germline stability2. These DNA fingerprints are derived from a large number of highly informative dispersed autosomal loci and are suitable for linkage analysis in man3, and for individual identification in, for example, forensic science and paternity testing2. They can also be used to resolve immigration disputes arising from lack of proof of family relationships. To illustrate the potential for positive or inclusive identification, we now describe the DNA fingerprint analysis of an immigration case, the resolution of which would have been very difficult and laborious using currently available single-locus genetic markers.

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  1. Jeffreys, A. J., Wilson, V. & Thein, S. L. Nature 314, 67–74 (1985).

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  2. Jeffreys, A. J., Wilson, V. & Thein, S. L. Nature 316, 76–79 (1985).

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  3. Jeffreys, A. J., Wilson, V., Thein, S. L., Weatherall, D. J. & Ponder, B. A. J. (in preparation).

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Jeffreys, A., Brookfield, J. & Semeonoff, R. Positive identification of an immigration test-case using human DNA fingerprints. Nature 317, 818–819 (1985).

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