How To Choose The Right Paternity Test
A doubtful father can easily order a DNA testing kit, take a sample of himself and his child and send it out to a DNA testing facility. In a matter of days, he will receive a report confirming of ruling out his biological fatherhood on that child.Although establishing paternity is the most frequent reason for having a DNA test done, there are many other applications. For example, it is also possible to determine other familiar relations such as brother/sisterhood, maternity, paternity when the alleged father is not available and so on. People can also have a detailed analysis about their ethnic and genealogical background.
These kinds of tests are often made out of curiosity, but sometimes they can be very helpful. It is frequent that people are excluded from certain benefits that are intended for a specific ethnic group, such as Native Americans because they cannot demonstrate their ancestry. DNA testing is an effective and conclusive way to prove a person’s ethnic ancestry.So far, everything looks fine.
What you will find is an overwhelming spectrum of DNA labs offering paternity tests, and of course, each of them claims that they are the best lab. What to do? Pick the first you come across? Pick the cheapest? You don’t need to be an expert to decide, but knowing the difference among all those labs will allow you to make a wiser decision. Why is this important? The kinds of questions you seek to answer through a DNA test are not trivial. A man who is not sure if he is the true father of his children cannot accept a maybe as an answer, can he? Well, that is what he’ll get if he chooses a cheap DNA test from an inexperienced lab.AllDNA tests are essentially similar in their bare basics: they are all based on the same biological principles and use the same kind of analytical methods.
There are, however, some differences you should take into account.One important difference is the number of genetic markers they look at. Genetic markers are simply specific regions in the human genome that tend to be different among people. Imagine there is a region for which there are 5 different types among humans. You are most likely to have the same type as your father at the same region. However, since there are only 5 different types in the population, your are also sharing the type with many other people that are not related to you, so that looking at this single region will not tell for sure who your father is.
If we look at another region, the chances for sharing both of them with unrelated people are lower, but it is still possible. The best paternity tests use as much as 16 different markers. Having a match for all 16 markers by chance is virtually impossible, so a perfect match conclusively tells that the two persons are father and child.
Why not using even more markers? Because there is no need to (with 16 markers, the probability of a false result is nil), and adding more markers to the analysis would only make the test more expensive. Why not less than 16? Many labs use between 4 and 8 markers to make the test cheaper. By choosing one of these you may save a few dollars, but your doubts will not be completely wiped out. Do you find this acceptable? Surely not.The second most important source of false results of DNA testing is, paradoxically, one of its strengths.
DNA tests are based on a technique called PCR (for Polymerase Chain Reaction). PCR was a revolutionary invention that warranted its creator a Nobel Prize. One of the most important features of PCR is its sensitivity: it is possible to analyzed minute amounts of DNA (in theory it can be done with a single cell). On one side, one can analyzed DNA from a single hair, a tiny spot of blood or even from the saliva obtained from a used cigarette, but the high sensitivity has a downside: it is very easy that such small samples become contaminated with DNA from other individuals, such as the police detective that gathered blood spots at the crime scene, the lab technician who processed the sampled and so on.
Truly professional DNA labs follow strict guidelines and protocols to avoid contamination and have University-trained personnel. In this regard, if you send your DNA sample to an inexperienced or ill-equipped DNA lab, you risk a false result since somebody else’s DNA may be analyzed instead of yours due to improper manipulation or use of cheap or defective lab materials.If you are thinking of having a DNA testing done, being for establishing paternity, genealogical inquiry, determination of Native American status or other reasons choose carefully. Avoid labs offering very low prices. Check thoroughly to have an idea about the price ranges out there.
Only labs offering a multi-marker (ideally 16 for the standard paternity test) tests should be trusted. Avoid labs that, judging from their websites appear to be small or amateur. Consider that some companies are offering ready-to-use DNA testing labs that can be used by anyone to offer cheap DNA testing. DNA testing should only be performed by qualified personnel and equipment.