THE scientist who launched DNA fingerprinting, Sir Alec Jeffreys, is coming to Huddersfield.
And Sir Alec is expected to air his controversial views on the future of genetic fingerprinting.
He will give a free public lecture at Huddersfield University on Wednesday.
The event is in the Canalside West Lecture Theatre.
Sir Alec will share his controversial views on the subject of DNA databases with the public, and invites them to question him about the future implications of storing sensitive information about everyone in the country.
Sir Alec first made his world-changing discovery by separating strands of DNA into different sizes and showing them as bands on a photograph. What first seemed to him to be ‘a complicated mess’ has now become invaluable for police investigation, ranging from settling immigration and paternity disputes to solving rape and murder cases.
Genetic fingerprinting uses a part of our DNA that varies a great deal between individuals, called ‘microsatellites’. Each DNA fingerprint is unique, and can be produced from the smallest samples – a single hair or just a few skin cells.
The UK currently stores DNA information – called ‘profiles’ – from 4 million people on a database. Samples are taken from anyone arrested for a wide range of ‘recordable’ offences, and their DNA profiles kept and stored – even if the person is not convicted.
The database is then used to compare with samples found at crime scenes, and has, in many cases, led to successful conviction.
Despite concerns about civil liberties, Sir Alec has argued for a national DNA database that includes not only those that have been arrested, but everyone, even people visiting the country.
He believes that society has to decide how to balance the rights of the individual against what he believes to be the greater benefits to society as a whole.
If you would like to attend or want more details, call Janet Goodridge on 01484 473138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org