Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



 

Film Review: How Does DNA Fingerprinting Work?

14 November 2011

By Dr Rebecca Robey

Appeared in BioNews 633

How Does DNA Fingerprinting Work?

By the Naked Scientists

Thursday 27 October 2011

Watch the film online

'How Does DNA Fingerprinting Work?', by the Naked Scientists, Thursday 27 October 2011


Have you ever wondered how criminals are identified using their DNA, or how DNA paternity tests can prove whether a man is the father of a baby? Both are done using a technique called 'DNA fingerprinting' and the latest video in the Naked Scientists' scrapbook series explains neatly how this works.

'How Does DNA Fingerprinting Work?' is part of a short video series explaining scientific concepts whilst an artist sketches explanatory notes and images to aid understanding.

In approximately five minutes the movie covers a brief history of the discovery of DNA fingerprints by Sir Alec Jeffreys in 1984, followed by an explanation of what they are and how they can be examined and compared. Finally, it touches on the current applications of DNA fingerprinting and moral issues associated with its use.

The explanations are clear, detailed and fairly easy to follow. However, the use of many technical terms means that although they are explained, the video requires careful concentration and those unfamiliar with the terminology may find they need to watch it more than once to understand the concepts fully.

The sketches are mostly useful and certainly add a bit of lively visual interest but are occasionally slightly distracting as you might find yourself reading the text but then missing what the narrator is saying.

Overall, I felt the scientific content was accurate and presented in a reasonably accessible way, but the level of detail may go a little beyond the interest and comprehension of the general public.

I would recommend it as an excellent learning aid for, for example, a teacher livening up an A-level biology class on genetics; or to anyone with an interest in forensics or genetics, and a reasonable general knowledge on the subject who's after a more detailed explanation.

The Naked Scientists are a group of medics and scientific researchers from University of Cambridge who aim 'to strip science down to its bare essentials and promote it to the general public' through a variety of media.

They organise live lectures and regularly update their informative website content, as well as producing a self-titled weekly radio show on the BBC to help answer the public's questions on a range of scientific fields. Their website is open-access and the 'scrapbook' videos are available for download to mp3 players.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Naked Scientists | 27 October 2011
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

20 February 2012 - by Rachel Lloyd 
The Pulse-Project is a website which offers a wide range of freely accessible audio and video lectures on the sciences and medical humanities...

08 August 2011 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
King Tutankhamun shares ancestors with more than 50 percent of Western European men, according to a personal genomics company in Switzerland....
02 December 2002 - by BioNews 
A UK firm has launched a new range of jewellery, rugs and champagne glasses that incorporate patterns based on the recipient's unique DNA fingerprint, reports New Scientist magazine. The unusual personalised gifts are available through Complement Genomics in Sunderland, a company that normally collects DNA samples for pharmaceutical companies and...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation