What is the history behind DNA paternity testing? Who discovered it?


Q: When was DNA discovered and who realized it was for use in paternity testing? Is it accurate?

A: DNA was actually discovered in the 1940s by Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty. The structure of DNA, however, was not discovered until the 1950s by most notably James Watson and Francis Crick (Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins also contributed a good deal but weren’t given the same degree of credit). Alec Jeffreys was one of the significant figures in DNA fingerprinting and it was probably around the mid-1980s that “paternity” testing came along. All humans share about 99.9% of the same DNA and only about 0.1% of it is different and unique to each individual and this is what is typically tested. There are different methods of doing this which vary in their accuracy, however, they are very specific.