DNA testing is becoming increasingly used to determine genetic links between individuals as a highly accurate and individual way of identifying people and their relationships with one another. The process itself is one carried out in advanced laboratories under the strictest of lab conditions to ensure no cross-contamination and improve result accuracy. As such DNA testing can be said to present with a high degree of accuracy any particular biological relationship that may exist, particularly in paternity disputes where samples of both the mother and the father are provided.
Preparing For the DNA Test and Collecting Samples Normally a DNA testing kit is sent to the person who ordered the test by the company from whom the order was made. The test begins with samples being collected from everyone preparing to undertake the test. In most cases, that will mean the mother, the father (alleged) and the child concerned. Samples are taken by the way of oral swabs, which collect cheek cells which are then dried and passed on for testing.
In order to prepare the sample, it is first important to make sure that the cotton of the swab never touches any other surface including your hands, and that you have a number of swabs for each person taking the test to ensure reliability in the end results. Press the swab into the inside of the cheek and behind the lips, as well as the tongue area in order to get as good as possible a sample from the mouth. Having left to dry for around an hour, the swab should be carefully sealed off before the collation and mailing process. Testing the Samples After all the samples have been collected and labelled accordingly, they should be sent off to the laboratory for the DNA testing analysis. At this stage, the samples will be individually examined and DNA will be extracted from within the cells present in the sample. The same will be done for both the other two parties to the test and the results of the DNA profiles will be compared.
The person analysing your results will be looking for a 50/50 split between your alleles, contained within the DNA, between those found on your mother and father. As you can only inherit genes already carried by one or both parents, no alleles can be present in the child's DNA that are not present in that of either parent. Naturally, this is where it becomes obvious when there is and is not a genetic link between those taking the DNA test. Further to that, the results are processed through the appropriate systems and a conclusion is reached, having covered 16 of the locus which are used as the template by which samples are matched.
Receiving the DNA Test Results Once the DNA test is completed, the result will be sent to the participants via email, letter, fax or as otherwise agreed. The DNA test report should show the individual profile of each person that submitted a sample for the paternity test. Also the result should show the percentage probability of the stated relationship, for example in a DNA paternity test this is normally in excess of 99.99%. There's no doubt about it - DNA testing is here to stay.
Whilst most people are not very knowledgeable on how DNA paternity testing works, it is probably a good idea to gain some level of understanding given the way in which DNA testing is likely to continue to affect our lives over the coming decades. With growing calls for more extensive DNA databases and records for crime prevention, DNA testing and analysis looks set to remain at the forefront of the civil liberties/state interests debate.
Kevin Camilleri writes articles for dna paternity test. Other articles written by the author related to paternity testing, home paternity test and paternity test kit can be found on the net.