DNA fingerprinting is a process that can be used to identify individuals and study genetic traits. In this procedure, DNA is extracted from skin, bone, blood or bodily fluids; fragmented into bands with restriction enzymes; and transferred to a membrane. Next, a radioactive probe binds to the DNA and then is washed away, leaving a pattern that can be analyzed on X-ray film. Some uses of this procedure are in identification of missing persons through bone fragments left at crime or war scenes. It could also be utilized in determination of paternity. Additionally, genetic disorders may be studied through DNA fingerprinting: diagnoses can be made and potential cures can be investigated.
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