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Restriction fragment length polymorphisms are a type of genetic identifiers used in the study of traits and comparison of allelic restriction sites. RFLPs develop due to the mutations that occur in the sequences that code restriction sites; thus the mutations either result in the destruction or creation of restriction sites. The consequence of such mutations is that when a restriction enzyme is used to cut the DNA sequence, where there has been destructive mutation the DNA sequence is not ligated and where there has been creation of restriction sites the DNA is ligated. This all leads to varying lengths of DNA fragments which separate on gel electrophoresis. RFLPs are used for the analysis of traits and allelic mutations[1].

RFLP is a common method for determining the paternity of a child.

Another reason this test is useful is because it has a high power of exclusion (around 99%). This means that when a test is run to determine the paternity, around 99% of the population can be discounted to be the child's father. This makes the results very accurate. Although it is a very useful technique, it is not as commonly used as PCR. This is because it takes a long time to run the test and it requires large samples for testing[2].


  1. Lodish.H.,2007. Molecular Cell Biology. 7th ed. Basingstoke
  2. RFLP is a common method for determining the paternity of a child<ref>http://www.dnajunction.com/technology/rflp.php

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