DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A scientist displays a sample container in which can be seen a tiny, white speck of human DNA. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that forms the basic genetic material of all living beings. It is the material from which our chromosomes are made; it carries the genetic code that determines our individual characteristics. The numbered sample shown here was obtained from human tissue for use in the technique of DNA fingerprinting. This technique makes it possible to identify an individual uniquely from a particular sequence in his or her DNA, which can be obtained from a tiny sample of tissue such as blood, hair, or sperm.
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