An Introduction to Genetic Disease Testing With DNA Fingerprinting

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What is DNA Fingerprinting?

The term “fingerprint” has been in use since 1930s when detectives and police labs would catch thieves based on their unique fingerprints. Contrary to the conventional fingerprint that is present on the fingertips of an individual, a DNA fingerprint is present in every cell, tissue and organ of an individual. Though fingerprints can be altered using surgery, DNA fingerprints cannot be distorted by any known treatment. That is the reason why it is rapidly becoming the chief method for identifying and characterizing individuals.

In addition to identifying and characterizing people, DNA fingerprint technology is being used for the diagnosis of inherited disorders in adults, children and unborn babies. The uniqueness of all living organisms, including humans, are fundamentally determined by information enclosed within the DNA that they inherit from their parents.

Living organisms that look dissimilar or have diverse characteristics also have different DNA sequences. The more diverse the organism, the more diverse the DNA sequences. DNA fingerprinting is a very rapid way to evaluate the DNA sequences of any two living organisms.

DNA fingerprinting Procedure

DNA fingerprinting is a laboratory process that requires six steps:

  1. Isolation of DNA: DNA is recovered from the cells or tissues. A small quantity of blood, hair or skin is required.
  2. Cutting, sizing, and sorting: Restriction enzymes are used to cut DNA at precise locations. The DNA fragments are then sorted according to their size by sieving technique, called electrophoresis.
  3. Transfer of DNA to nylon: the allocation of DNA fragments is transferred to a nylon sheet by placing the sheet on the gel and soaking them all through the night.
  4. Probing: Adding colored or radioactive probes to the nylon sheet creates a pattern called the DNA fingerprint. Each probe generally sticks in only one or two precise locations on the nylon sheet.
  5. DNA fingerprint: The DNA fingerprint is created using different probes. It looks like the bar codes used by grocery store scanners.

Genetic Disease Testing With DNA Fingerprinting

Genetic testing is a technique that is used to inspect genes or markers near the genes. Genetic disease testing with DNA fingerprinting is now possible as well. Many disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease, can be diagnosed using DNA fingerprinting technique. In addition, thalasemia and sickle cell anemia can also be diagnosed using the same technique.

With DNA fingerprinting, genetic tests for genetic disorders have far become quick and effectual. Indeed, it may shortly be less challenging as well as safer to detect if a pregnant woman’s baby has a genetic condition.

With a single drop of mother’s blood, scientists can find out if the foetus has a genetic condition such as cystic fibrosis. This kind of testing is very useful and provides better prevention and treatment prospects for various genetic diseases.


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