Friday, December 14, 2007

Desert Island Discs - BBC radio 4

Just been listening to one of the BBC's longest running Q&A progs on BBC Radio 4 desert island discs and it's welled me up a bit.

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys - the scientist who discovered genetic finger printing is talking about the very first time the technique was used in the UK and recounted the story of my family.

Yes, it's an incredible story; I'm more detached to talk about it, but the dispute was whether my kid brother who'd returned from a long holiday in Ghana, was who he claimed to be.

DNA genetic fringer printing had never been used in a live case.

This was the first time it was taken out of the lab.

We'd fought a two year battle trying to prove our case, almost exhausted all options then we got a call from our solicitors.

A new technique would resolve the dispute.

It did.

Today my not so kid brother has one child and is doing pretty well.

Parrallel lives eh.

It could all have been different if it were not for this science.

Ironically, years after the case, I went on to study Applied Chemistry at university, before turning to radio after graduating.

In Leicester I covered a conference with the likes of Baroness Warnock and Dr Alec Jeffries as he was then, and thanked him profusely.

He won't remember.

Time to say thank you again.

a strand of David's DNA fingerprint, unique in that no one else will have the same marker, but the clustering will reveal patterns within families

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also listened to the BBC Radio 4 programme and found it very intreresting. Till this day, I keep remebering the interview. This prompted me to google the programme and I got this blog page. This is even more interesting as I discoverred someone linked to the David story.

No doubt the family must have gone thru a lot during this period. Imagine how many people would have been let down by the system where benefit of the doubt is not given. Although I work for the civil service and deal with the public making applications to govt offices, sometimes it can be difficult sifting genuine and false application, but the guiding rule is that the onnus to investigate falls on the authority who must also give benefit of the doubt unless there are reasons or causes for concern.

Do you know why the authorities took the position they took in respect of your brother?