Forensic DNA Crimeline

1980 – American geneticists discover a region of DNA that does not hold any genetic information and which is extremely variable between individuals.  Ray White describes first polymorphic.

1984 – Alec Jeffreys discovers a method of identifying individuals from DNA – Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP). He dubs it ‘DNA Fingerprinting’.

1985 – Police in the UK first use forensic DNA profiling.

1986 – Kary Mullis discovers Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method of replicating particular regions of a DNA molecule.

1987 – In the UK. the first criminal case in which DNA was used provided a vivid demonstration of the method’s potential — not only for convicting the guilty but also for exonerating the innocent. It also demonstrated for the first time that a DNA fingerprint could be used to find a perpetrator from within a population.

1988 – FBI starts DNA casework.

1995 – The world’s first national DNA database commences operations in the UK on 10 April 1995.

1998 – FBI launches CODIS database.

1998 – In South Africa, DNA Profiles begin to be entered into the National DNA Crminal Intelligence Database.

1998 – SA opt to use the STR system (Short Tandem Repeats) for DNA Profiling.

2000 – In the UK, the Forensic Science Service announces that the number of DNA profiles of suspects and convicted criminals on the national DNA database has reached one million or roughly one third of the estimated criminally active population.

2006 – The world’s first fully auto-mated system for high-volume forensic DNA analysis and profiling goes live in Arcadia, Tshwane, South Africa in August 2006, putting the Biology Unit of the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory at the forefront of global DNA analysis technology.

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