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Sep 10, 2009 4:16 PM by Associated Press

DNA pioneer appeals for freethinking scientists

The geneticist who discovered DNA fingerprinting says scientists must be allowed to conduct research driven by nothing but curiosity.

Alec Jeffreys realized 25 years ago Thursday that almost all humans have unique signatures of genetic material. The discovery has been used to solve thousands of crimes and to settle countless identity and paternity claims.

Jeffreys says he made his discovery by accident. He says "unfettered, fundamental, curiosity-driven" research is just as important as science aimed at solving specific problems.

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