Are you Related? The World Before DNA Tests
For hundreds of years, the only way to tell if people were related was to see if they looked alike. Later on, blood tests were used in paternity cases, but weren’t accurate enough to declare paternity without any doubt. The discovery of DNA and the emergence of the DNA test has had an impact on many aspects of our lives.
It’s Not As New As You Think
The DNA test and DNA itself may be a fairly recent discovery, but as long ago as the 19th century, scientists were investigating the genetic relationship. Gregor Mendel, a priest born in the Austrian Empire, studied pea plants for signs of inherited traits. He found that such traits existed, and that they followed certain laws, which were subsequently named after him. Often known as “the father of modern genetics”, the importance of his work wasn’t realised until the 20th century, when its rediscovery prompted further research into the area of genetics.
The DNA Structure
The acclaimed discovery of the chemical structure of DNA came in the 1950s, through a team consisting of Francis Crick, James D Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. This British and American team’s breakthrough led to the founding of a new scientific area, called “molecular biology”.
Refinement and Application
Once the chemical structure of DNA had been defined, work began to discover more about DNA and what it can tell us. Watson and Crick proved that genes determine heredity, whilst other scientists produced the Genetic Code, produced DNA in test tubes, mapped the human genome, created an adult animal, began developing gene therapy and showed that a DNA test could accurately place people in certain places at certain times. The work and dedication of hundreds of scientists at the forefront of this branch of science has enabled families to be reunited, criminals to be brought to justice, illnesses to be treated, and much more.
The Future of the DNA Test
At International Biosciences, we believe the future is bright for DNA research and the DNA test. Advances in this area bring new benefits that can help to improve our lives and those of the people around us.