genes and biochemistryAlec Jeffreys was born on January 9th, 1950 in Oxford, United Kingdom.  He was a curious boy and had inventiveness about him, which he probably inherited from his father and grandfather, who had multiple patents.   Alec had always had an interest in Biology that probably steamed from the fact that at eight years old, his father presented him with a chemistry set, which he kept enhancing over the years as well as a Victorian brass microscope.  By the ripe ole age of twelve, he invented his own dissecting kit, which he used to dissect a bumblebee.  Eventually he stared dissecting larger specimens i.e. a dead cat that he found and dissected on the dining room table before Sunday lunch much to his parent’s dismay.In 1968, he won a four year scholarship to study at Merton College in Oxford and in 1972; he graduated with first-class honors degree in Biochemistry.  He then went on to further study and got his Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Oxford.   After Alec received his Ph.D. he went to work researching at the University of Amsterdam on globin genes before moving on to the University of Leicester in 1977 as a lecturer in genetics where he studied DNA variation and the evolution of gene families.  Seven years letter, Alec Jeffreys had an “A HA” moment and discovered a method of showing variations between individual’s DNA and thus genetic fingerprinting was invented.In this case fingerprinting means the exclusive biological identity or DNA of an individual person, not your fingerprints on your fingers.  The “A HA” moment came on the morning of September 10th, 1984 when Alec Jeffreys was looking at one of the x-ray films and saw that he could see many mini-satellites (is a section of DNA that consists of a short series of nitrogen-containing biological compounds) varied greatly from one person to another and that the DNA patterns for one individual was unique; which led to the conclusion that every person’s DNA has an exclusive biological identity.This find had profound implications especially in the forensic science area.  By the end of 1984, he obtained patents for his discoveries and in 1985 he published a four-part series in Nature Journal explaining his findings.  It wasn’t until 1986 that Alec Jeffreys new innovation took off, his technology was crucial in helping solve a criminal case, which was used to help convict a rapist and killer of two girls in Leicestershire, United Kingdom.Alec Jeffrey’s has received many awards over the years.  Please see the below list:

• 20 March 1986 – Fellow of the Royal Society

• 1989 – Midlander of the Year

• 1991 – Appointed as a Royal Society Research Professor

• 26 November 1992 – Honorary freeman of the City of Leicester

• 1994 – Knighted

• 1996 – Albert Einstein World Award of Science

• 1998 – Australia Prize

• 1999 – Stokes Medal

• 2004 – Honorary doctorate awarded by the University of Leicester, where Jeffreys is a member of staff

• 2004 – Royal Medal of the Royal Society

• 2004 – Pride of Britain Award for Lifetime Achievement

• 2004 – Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

• 2005 – Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, jointly with Edwin Southern of the University of Oxford

• 2005 – United States National Academy of Science, elected member

• December 2006 – Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the University of Liverpool

• 2006 – Morgan Stanley Great Briton Award for the Greatest Briton of the year, winner in the category of Science and Innovation, as well as the overall winner

• 2006 – Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics

• 8 March 2007 – Honorary degree from King’s College London

• 23 January 2008 – Graham Medal of the Glasgow Philosophical Society, awarded after he gave his lecture “DNA Profiling; Past, present and future”, which was nominated as the Graham Lecture

• 16 November 2009 – Awarded Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Huddersfield

• 14 April 2010 – Awarded Edinburgh Medal

• 21 February 2011 – Awarded ABRF Annual Award

Alec’s DNA testing technology has been used throughout out the world not only for helping solve criminal cases, but also paternity tests.  DNA testing or profiling is now a standard practice in forensic labs around the world.Further Information:

The material in this website is commercially focused and generalized information and opinion about successfully working within the existing legal framework of Intellectual Property, patents and patent law; and should in no way be viewed or construed as legal advice. Advisors at Innovate are not and will not be lawyers unless this is specifically stated.