Alec Jeffreys

Alec Jeffreys

Alec Jeffreys

Birth : (1950-01-09)9 January 1950(age 70) Oxford,England, UK

Personal Information

Name Alec Jeffreys
Birth (1950-01-09)9 January 1950(age 70) Oxford,England, UK
Birth Place (age 70) Oxford,England, UK
Nationality English
Alma Mater University of Oxford(BA, DPhil)
Fields Genetics
Institution ,University of Amsterdam,University of Leicester)
Thesis Studies on the mitochondria of cultured mammalian cells(1975)
Famous Research Genetic fingerprinting

Word Cloud

Events Occured in Scienctist Life


Sir Alec John Jeffreys, (born 9 January 1950) is an English geneticist, who developed techniques for genetic fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes.


He is a professor of genetics at the University of Leicester, and he became an honorary freeman of the City of Leicester on 26 November 1992.


In 1994, he was knighted for services to genetics.


Jeffreys was born into a middle-class family in Oxford, where he spent the first six years of his life until 1956 when the family moved to Luton, Bedfordshire.


He won a scholarship to study at Merton College, Oxford on a four-year course, where he graduated in 1971 with first-class honours in biochemistry.


Career and research After finishing his doctorate, he moved to the University of Amsterdam, where he worked on mammalian genes as a research fellow, and then to the University of Leicester in 1977,


Jeffreys says he had a "eureka moment" in his lab in Leicester after looking at the X-ray film image of a DNA experiment on 10 September 1984, which unexpectedly showed both similarities and differences between the DNA of different members of his technician's family.


Before his methods were commercialized in 1987, his laboratory was the only center in the world that carried out DNA fingerprinting, and was consequently very busy, receiving inquiries from all over the globe.


Jeffreys's DNA method was first put to use in 1985 when he was asked to help in a disputed immigration case to confirm the identity of a British boy whose family was originally from Ghana.


The story behind the investigations is told in Joseph Wambaugh's 1989 best-selling book The Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders and the murders and subsequent solving of the crimes was featured in Episode 1 of the first season of the 1996 American TV series Medical Detectives in which Jeffreys himself also appears.


A further television mini-series based on these events was released in 2015, Code of a Killer.


In 1992, Jeffreys's methods were used to confirm the identity for German prosecutors of the body of Josef Mengele, who had died in 1979, by comparing DNA obtained from a femur bone of his exhumed skeleton, with DNA from his mother and son, in a similar way to paternity testing.


The most commonly used markers are now variable microsatellites, also known as short tandem repeats (STRs), which Jeffreys first exploited in 1990 in the Mengele case.


The national database in 2020 contained the DNA information of about 5.6 million people.


Jeffreys met his future wife, Sue Miles, in a youth club in the centre of Luton, Bedfordshire, before he became a university student, and they married on 28 August 1971.


Jeffreys has one brother and one sister; he and his wife have two daughters, born in 1979 and 1983.