Scientific advances have rendered DNA testing more sophisticated and common, to the point that buying a DNA test kit to use at home is both easy and affordable. Still, there are a few common points of confusion that many people run into with regard to these tests. Anyone planning on using one can benefit from understanding the following five facts before getting started.
1. Price Does Not Predict Accuracy
If you have done your research, you have probably noticed that there can be a significant price discrepancy between different testing methods and providers. Is there a correlation between cost and accuracy that makes it worth shelling out hundreds of dollars more for one of the most expensive tests available? The uncomplicated answer is, not necessarily; there are plenty of affordable tests that have been proven in trials to be just as accurate as their costlier counterparts. Take for example the Home dna free kit that essentially offers the same product as expensive DNA labs. However, it’s important to read up on any testing company that you are considering and see how they conduct the test and what kind of accuracy they guarantee.
2. Testing the Mother Makes a Difference
One widespread belief is that, to be effective, a paternity test only requires the DNA of the child and the potential father. Although such a test can give a strong indicator of paternity, the results will be even more conclusive if the mother’s DNA is also known. The reason is that a DNA test essentially compares whether the child’s DNA sample — half of which matches the mother’s DNA and half of which matches the father’s DNA —is a match with the potential father’s sample. With maternity being a point that is beyond dispute and with the mother’s DNA known, her DNA can be discounted from the child’s, leaving just the child’s paternal DNA to compare with the sample provided by the father. Without the mother’s DNA, more extensive testing and efforts may be needed to conclusively establish biological paternity.
3. Tests Aren’t Necessarily Inadmissible in Court
It can be easy to assume that at-home paternity tests, although useful and reassuring to the parents, will not actually hold up in a formal setting such as court. This truly depends on the company and test, however. The general rule is that the identity of the person giving the sample must be verified, and the chain of custody of the sample must be established. Some companies can meet these provisions if they are given a special request. Of course, it is best to either contact the company or speak with an attorney in your state about relevant laws if you do need to obtain paternity test results that will carry weight in a legal setting.
4. Company Policies Are Worth Researching
Before you buy a kit, you may want to look into what the company will do with your results after the analysis is complete. The results are always confidential, but what happens to the samples that you provide can vary. Some companies destroy them immediately, others hold them for a set period, and some will honor client requests on the subject. Make sure to find out what approach a company takes and whether they will provide you with a printed or otherwise enduring statement of the results.
5. The Rules in New York Are Unique
Finally, if you live in New York, paternity testing, even for personal purposes, is a little more complicated because of additional regulations that the state imposes. New York residents can only have their DNA tested through laboratories that have received the state Department of Health accreditation. Additionally, any DNA samples sent in for testing must be accompanied by a written request from a physician or lawyer.
People who are familiar with these nuances of DNA testing should have an easier time choosing the right test and using it to full effect. Although the legal implications and the science behind DNA testing can be complicated, it is quite easy for people to make use of these tests without being experts. Recognizing what makes these tests more effective, what their limitations are, and what your options when taking one are is the first step to getting the most out of taking a DNA test.
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