DNA Analysis and Paternity Testing: What You Need to Know

dna testing serviceWe hear a lot about DNA testing these days. From solving complex cold cases through genetic genealogy to finding more about our ancestors through at-home kits (which require no advanced laboratory equipment on our part), DNA has come a long way. But what you might not realize is that DNA testing services are used in a number of other ways, including as a means of establishing paternity. Let’s take a closer look at DNA paternity testing and how both medical and legal professionals rely on these advanced technologies on a daily basis.

What Is DNA Analysis and How Is It Performed to Establish Paternity?

As you may already know, “DNA” is short for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA refers to the genetic material that a person inherits from both their mother and their father. Namely, 50% of your DNA comes from your mother, while the other 50% comes from your father.

Each person has a completely unique genetic footprint — and because DNA is present in every cell in the body that has a nucleus, there are many different ways to extract that data in order to establish the genetic characteristics that make up an individual. Typically, DNA analysis relies on gathering samples from either blood tests or cheek swabs to establish paternity. Once these samples are collected, the DNA is then extracted from the cells and copied using a process known as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This allows the DNA data to actually be detected, viewed, and analyzed. The fragments of DNA from an individual are then compared to the DNA from someone thought to be their biological child or father. When the markers overlap, that’s considered to be a DNA match — thus confirming paternity.

Are These DNA Testing Services Accurate?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, DNA paternity tests are extremely accurate. Tests like these can show with 99.9% accuracy if a man is not the biological father of an individual (e.g., if the man can be excluded). It’s important to note that even two unrelated individuals can share certain DNA markers; as human beings, we do all share some of the same genetic material. And while some genetic mutations can complicate matters, a DNA testing service is performed by accredited analysts with many years of experience. In other words, you can trust that the results are accurate.

Why Turn to DNA Testing Services When Establishing Paternity?

Anyone who watched daytime talk shows in the 1990s and early 2000s will probably recall segments wherein child paternity was proven or disproven through testing methods. But since that time, DNA testing technology has grown by leaps and bounds. What’s more, paternity DNA testing has real-life applications that extend far beyond television ratings or simple peace of mind.

DNA testing plays a crucial role in establishing paternity for a number of legal situations. For many people, it’s essential to obtain documentation that either confirms or denies whether an individual is the biological father of a child in question. In instances wherein the parents aren’t married or are considering divorce, this can determine whether the assumed father is responsible for child support payments or whether he has a legal claim to custody.

Paternity testing is also a critical component for adopted children who are searching for their birth parents, as well as those biological children who need to officially establish their rights to an inheritance or certain monetary benefits (including life insurance and Social Security benefits). DNA testing services may also be used in immigration cases to affirm whether or not an individual is related to others when official documents are not available.

Whether you’re looking to access reputable paternity testing services for your lab or you’re working on behalf of legal clients to reach a favorable outcome in a court case, these kinds of DNA testing services are vital. For more information on how our facilities can provide you with the support you need, please contact us today.