Home DNA Testing: Common Questions And Answers

Home DNA testing has exploded in popularity in recent years yet there are a host of unanswered questions relating to the procedure. The main purpose of home DNA testing is to establish whether or not a man is the father of a child. It is an important issue and one that can be solved in less than a week thanks to amazing scientific advancements. Here are some common Q&A relating to home DNA testing.

How Does A Home DNA Test Actually Work?
Males and females have 23 chromosomes each. Children inherit half of each parent’s DNA so they end up with 23 pairs of chromosomes. Certain DNA sequences can be found and identified as belonging to the child’s parents. Establishing paternity is simply a matter of linking these matching DNA sequences.

What Is The Testing Procedure?
In most cases, you will receive a kit that includes special envelopes and Buccal Swabs. You take one of these swabs and rub it on the inside of your cheek. The swabs are then sealed in the envelope and returned to the lab. Some companies prefer to have a kit which has a container into which you spit. This is then sealed and sent to the lab.

What Should A Legitimate DNA Testing Company Have?
Only highly qualified staff should handle DNA testing. A home DNA testing company should have their own laboratory that have been accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) at the very least.

Who Takes The Test?
Ideally, the alleged father, the child and the mother should all be have DNA samples collected and tested. In most instances, this guarantees a success rate of 99.9999%. Testing can take place without the mother and be reasonably effective (99.99%) but having samples from all parties is preferable.

Is There An Age Limit On The Child To Be Tested?
No. The procedure is safe to use, even on newborn babies. In fact, paternity testing can take place before the child is even born by taking samples during certain points during the pregnancy.

How Do I Make The Test Legal?
Regular paternity tests may tell you who the father of a child is, but the results cannot be used in court unless certain criteria are met. A neutral witness such as a member of a clinic or lab has to witness the testing procedure before taking the sample away to be tested. Those who are giving samples must be positively identified. This includes being fingerprinted and photographed after showing a government-issue ID. The samples are watched carefully until the testing is complete. A Client Identification and Consent Form must be signed with a minor’s form signed by his/her legal guardian.

Is The Test Accurate If Two Alleged Fathers Are Related?
Yes. The DNA tests will still be accurate regardless of how closely the parties are related. No two people possess the exact same DNA which is why it is such an excellent way of testing for paternity. It was assumed that monozygotic twins had identical genomes and were indistinguishable in DNA terms but scientists have reported studies where even monozygotic twins had slight differences in copy number variation.

Can Paternity Testing Be Used To Test For Predisposed Illnesses?
Unfortunately, no. The DNA markers used to establish paternity are completely different to those used to give information on genetic defects, medical conditions and ancestry.