DNA fingerprinting is a test to identify and evaluate the genetic information - DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) - in a person's cells. It is called a "fingerprint" because it is very unlikely that any two people would have exactly the same DNA information, in the same way that it is very unlikely that any two people would have exactly the same physical fingerprint. The test is used to determine whether a family relationship exists between two people, to identify organisms causing a disease, and to solve crimes. Only a small sample of cells is needed for DNA fingerprinting. A drop of blood or the root of a hair contains enough DNA for testing. Semen, hair, or skin scrapings are samples that are often available in criminal investigations.
DNA fingerprinting services has been provided as a public service by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology for the last eleven years. Today the Regional Facility for DNA Fingerprinting (RFDF) is a self-contained and self-sustained unit. The facility is managed by Chief Scientific Officer, Case Receiving Officer, Case Registrant, DNA Examiner and Laboratory Technicians. The major service of RFDF is to provide human DNA Fingerprinting services to judicial, crime investigating and law enforcing agencies. Samples related to maternity/paternity disputes, crime, alleged rape and cases involving man missing are analysed at RFDF. RFDF has expanded its DNA Fingerprinting services to flora and fauna including RAPD, AFLP or microsatellite marker-based studies, testing for genetic diversity analysis, species/population/varietal discrimination and hybrid seed testing. Cox-1 based molecular identification and DNA bar-coding of fauna especially for species identification in wildlife forensics is yet another service offered by RFDF.
RFDF is also a training centre for scientists and students who wish to learn about the techniques used for DNA Fingerprinting and DNA barcoding.