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Genetic genealogy 1980 to 1989

From ISOGG Wiki

Genetic Genealogy Timeline

Early 1980s

HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) preferred markers for genetic identification [for parentage/paternity testing]


Maternal inheritance of human mitochondrial DNA Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1980)77:6715-6719 Giles RE, Blanc H, Cann HM, Wallace DC

April 1981

Sequence and organization of the human mitochondrial genome. Nature 1981 Apr 9;290(5806):457-65, Anderson S, Bankier AT, Barrell BG, de Bruijn MH, Coulson AR, Drouin J, Eperon IC, Nierlich DP, Roe BA, Sanger F, Schreier PH, Smith AJ, Staden R, Young IG (First report of mtDNA sequencing; now called the Anderson or more commonly the Cambridge Reference Sequence / CRS)


Dr. Kary Mullis conceives and helps develop polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technology for rapidly multiplying fragments of DNA (Nobel Prize 1993)

June 1984

"American Academy for the Advancement of Science sent a forensic scientist [to Argentina] to make recommendations regarding the identification of the disappeared. Dr. Ana Maria Di Lonardo had a lab with equipment needed for the process, so Mary-Claire King and Di Lonardo worked together to develop a formula for grandparentage determination based on blood analysis. . . . "


See also:


Human genetics and human rights: Identifying the families of kidnapped children. American Journal of Forensics and Medical Pathology 5:339-347. DiLonardo AM, Darlu P, Baur M, Orrego C, King MC. (Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo - Argentina)


Alec Jeffreys of Leicester University . . . . introduction of DNA Fingerprinting . . . . "The discovery that DNA could be used for identification purposes was made in 1984 by Alec Jeffreys and was soon used by law enforcement agencies." See 1989 below. [Savin]


Individual-specific 'finger-prints' of human DNA Nature 1985 Jul 4-10; 316(6023):76-9. Jeffreys, AJ, Wilson V, Thein SI

By 1987

Validation studies for RFLP-based DNA technology were initiated and, in 1989, a "DNA only" test battery was introduced (from a lab site; don't know if this belongs here and don't know if dates apply to the field in general or to the specific lab)

Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Nature, 325 (1987), 31-6. Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking & Allan C. Wilson ("Eve" the common ancestor - mtDNA indicates all humans alive today descend from a single woman 200,000 years ago)

20 February 1989

The first published reference to the term genetic genealogy was in an article by Tom Siegfried in the Dallas Morning News entitled "Genetic genealogy and the search for 'Eve":

"In searching for the roots of the human race, scientists have traditionally relied on the fossil records found in ancient rocks. Of course, scientists have long known that we all carry a record of our roots in our genes. It's just that the record in the rocks has been easier to read. Lately, though, practitioners of genetic genealogy have found methods to search for the woman from whom we all are descended. She is popularly known as Eve."[1]


Alec Jeffreys (who coined the term DNA fingerprinting in 1984) first to use DNA polymorphisms in paternity, immigration, and murder cases. 1989-90 - First use of DNA in a criminal case, using only nuclear DNA. These two may refer to the case described in above 1984 [Jeffreys] link

Late 1980s

An international team of scientists began the project to map the human genome.

The first crime conviction based on DNA fingerprinting (in Portland Oregon).

See also


  1. 'All About Eve' - Genetic history Orlando Sentinal article collections