Genetic mapping

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What is genetic mapping?

DNA contains all the necessary information so that living beings can develop. The individuals in a given species share a significant part of their DNA sequence but there are certain regions that are highly variable and that are singular to each living being.

These areas of the genome are known as polymorphisms or genetic markers and they are used in order to identify people since two human beings who are not relations are unlikely to have the same genetic markers. An individual’s set of polymorphisms are known as a genetic profile or genetic map.

What does genetic mapping entail?

A sample from the individual is required in order to be able to perform the test. A saliva sample can be taken using a simple cotton swab that must be sent to the laboratory so that DNA can be extracted. The test is completed using the DNA that is obtained.

What is genetic mapping used for?

A genetic profile is what enables us to differentiate between two people except in cases of monozygotic twin siblings because they have the same DNA sequence. Genetic profiles characterise an individual as well as or better than their fingerprints. This is why it is also called a genetic map, A genetic map has the advantage of being much more precise than other methods of identification. Furthermore, DNA is present in each and every one of the human body’s cells and, as such, it can be extracted from any kind of biological sample. A genetic map is unique and does not change for the duration of a person’s life.

When can it be performed?

A genetic map is used in forensic medicine in order to identify human remains, for paternity or kinship tests, for organ donation compatibility tests, etc.

When can genetic mapping be useful?

Some of the situations in which it may be useful to perform an analysis of this kind are indicated below.

  • For creating a standard (yardstick or reference) for comparing and identifying people in high-risk professions. For example, soldiers, fire fighters or public order forces.
  • For genetic profile availability in order to identify people following accidents, fires or other disasters.
  • So that information for future paternity or kinship tests is available.
  • In cases of children who have been adopted or conceived using assisted reproduction techniques using donated gametes. Children do not have the same genetic code as their parents. Therefore, it is of no use to compare DNA analyses with results obtained from the parents.