Croonian prize lecture by Professor Alec Jeffreys FRS, University of Leicester
DNA fingerprinting, accidentally invented in 1984, has revolutionised many areas of biology, most notably forensic and legal medicine. Professor Jeffreys will describe how DNA typing can be used to solve casework and will review the latest developments, including the creation of major national DNA databases that are proving extraordinarily effective in the fight against crime. He will also discuss how this work led to the discovery of some of the most unstable regions of human DNA, and how these in turn have opened the way to exploring the fundamental processes of mutation and recombination that generate all human DNA diversity.
Professor Alec Jeffreys FRS studied biochemistry and genetics at Merton College, Oxford. He moved in 1977 to the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester where he currently holds the positions of Professor of Genetics and Royal Society Wolfson Research Professor. Professor Jeffrey's research at Leicester has focussed on exploring human DNA variation and the mutation processes that create this diversity. He was one of the first to discover inherited variation in human DNA, then went on to invent DNA fingerprinting, showing how it could be used to resolve issues of identity and kinship. His current work concentrates on developing new approaches to analysing variation and mutation in human chromosomes.