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Great Britons receive awards - Jeffreys is the greatest of all

The Daily Mail reports that Dame Helen Mirren, star of the hit film The Queen and television's Prime Suspect, won the arts category at the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards in London. Stuart Rose, the chief executive of Marks & Spencer won the Great Britons business category, Sir David Attenborough won creative, and Zara Phillips won sport.

Among these greats, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys won the votes of thousands of thousands of members of the public and was named the Great Briton of the Year for his work in genetic fingerprinting. (Details in the Ingenious Timeline. ) The judges said: "His work on DNA profiling, which is constantly being refined, has huge implications. No other discovery has so transformed crime detection.”

Its impact has been startling. One of our recent posts describes the cases of Americans who have been convicted due to DNA evidence, and some innocents who have been freed. Not surprisingly, British and American crime shows regularly feature the new technique.