A simple method for identification of individuals and maternity testing has been developed. This technique includes PCR amplification of the 199-bp hypervariable portion of the noncoding region of human mtDNA, digestion with RsaI and subsequent SSCP analysis of restriction fragments with DNA silver staining. Using this approach we have analysed the DNA fingerprint patterns of the family members. The fingerprints of maternally related individuals appeared to be identical in three generations, while maternally unrelated members of the family showed differences in their fingerprints, either in SSCP or both RFLP and SSCP patterns. Sequencing data have confirmed the results obtained. Further DNA fingerprinting analysis of 19 unrelated mother-child pairs by means of the method described revealed complete identity of the fingerprint patterns within the pairs. The probability of a random fingerprint match for two maternally unrelated individuals was estimated as 8%.