Alec J. Jeffreys (1950), United Kingdom

Alec J. Jeffreys was awarded the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics 2006 for 'his discovery of the genetic fingerprint'.

Alec JeffreysFurther reading

Jeffreys, A.J., Wilson, V., Thein, S.L., Hypervariable 'minisatellite' regions in human DNA, Nature 314: 67-73, 1985
Jeffreys, A.J., Wilson V., Thein, S.L., Individual-specific 'fingerprints' of DNA, Nature 316: 76-79, 1985
Jeffreys, A.J., Brookfield, J.F.Y., Semeonoff, R., Positive identification of an immigration test-case using human DNA fingerprints, Nature 317: 818-819, 1985
Jeffreys, A.J., MacLeod, A., Tamaki, K., Neil, D.L., Monckton, D.G., Minisatellite repeat coding as a digital approach to DNA typing, Nature 354: 204-209, 1991
Jeffreys, A.J., Genetic fingerprinting, Nature Medicine 11: 1035-1039, 2005 (Article in pdf )


Alec Jeffreys was born in Oxford, United Kingdom, in 1950. He attended Oxford University, where he studied biochemistry and commenced his research career with a dissertation on mitochondria in cultured mammalian cells. In 1975 he moved to Amsterdam University, where he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Piet Borst, a 1994 Heineken prizewinner. While there, he developed what is now a widely used technique for analysing individual genes, and also made the unexpected discovery that genes are split by non-coding sections of DNA (introns).
Jeffreys returned to the United Kingdom in 1977 to work for the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester. Ten years later, he accepted an appointment as Professor of Genetics, a position he has held to this day.
Jeffreys is a Fellow of the Royal Society and is a Royal Society Wolfson Research Professor. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Australia Prize (1998), the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine (2004) and the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research (2005). Jeffreys was knighted for his work in 1994.
Jeffreys still prefers to conduct his experiments himself.

Presentation speech

Presented by Professor Rob Kaptein,  - icon_downl_generiek.gifin English - in Dutch


icon_downl_generiek.gifDNA als PIN-code; Dr. H.P. Heinekenprijs voor Biochemie en Biofysica voor Alec Jeffreys, interview by Hans van Maanen (in Dutch)


icon_video_bruin.gif Video interview with Alec Jeffreys