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DNA Testing Frequently Asked Questions and Answers by the Dallas / Fort
Court Admissible DNA
Test Home DNA Test
Frequently Asked Questions
Test Accuracy Confidentiality
|What is DNA testing?
|DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material in the cells of your body. Every
nucleated cell has 46 chromosomes, except the sperm cells from the man and the egg of the
woman which only contain 23 chromosomes each. At the moment of conception, there are 46
chromosomes necessary to create a person. Thus, a person receives half of his/her genetic
material or DNA from the biological mother, and the other half from the biological father.|
|DNA paternity testing is much more than a blood test. It can be performed on a much
wider variety of samples, including blood cells, cheek cells, tissue samples, and semen.
Since blood types, such as A, B, O, and Rh, are more common within the population, the
power to differentiate individuals is not as high as with DNA paternity testing. Every
person's DNA is unique except for identical twins. Since it is so specific, just like a
fingerprint, DNA paternity testing is the most powerful form of testing. Our results are
often 10 to 100 times more accurate than what the courts require.|
|What if the tested parties are in different cities?
|With the court admissible method of collection there is an extensive network of local specimen collection
facilities across the country. Scheduling departments will coordinate appointments for the
clients at local hospitals or laboratories. The samples will be coordinated as a single testing case when they arrive at the laboratory.|
|With the home DNA test kit, we ask that the samples be taken and sent
to the lab within two weeks of each other (for best results).
Samples have been tested up to 1 year old with positive results.
|It is the purchasers responsibility to collect the samples if
parties are in different locations. The kit must be received
by the lab using the mailer that comes with the kit with all samples
necessary to complete the test.|
|If you are attempting to use the legal chain of custody with
individuals in different locations, have the professional
organization which takes the samples, seal and initial a closed
envelope containing the samples. They would then mail this to
the purchaser of the kit so all samples will be collected prior to
sending the complete kit to the lab. If any sealed envelopes
have been opened or tampered with, the lab will
not provide results that might be admissible in a court
|Are genetic tests valid when performed on a child
under the age of six months?
|Yes, as long as certain tests are avoided. The
American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) specifically states that children under six
months of age may not be tested for the serum proteins Gm and Km. Other tests can be
accurately performed on children under six months of age, including red cell antigens,
leukocyte antigens (HLA), and DNA.|
|Is there a six month age requirement?
|The six month delay was common procedure because
of the difficulty of drawing blood from small infants and due to the AABB requirement
|If a child is under six months, can DNA testing
be done using a specimen other than blood?
|Buccal swabs or cord blood collected at birth can
be used and allow for rapid and reliable testing regardless of age.|
|How does a buccal swab sample differ from a blood
|For purposes of identity testing, there is no
difference in DNA derived from buccal swabs or blood. However, non-DNA tests, such as
are not run on buccal samples.|
|Are you collecting spit for testing when a buccal
swab is done?
|Although some saliva is contained on the buccal
swabs, one is actually collecting epithelial cells off the cheeks inside the
|Wont the buccal swabs be contaminated since
they are collected from the mouth?
|The DNA testing performed is not affected by the
DNA of bacteria, common foods, tobacco, or mothers milk.|
|What are the odds of a mismatch of samples?
|Good laboratory practices that incorporate
exclusion confirmation, duplicate testing of independent specimen preparations, or require
exclusions in different genetic systems, help prevent and detect mismatched specimens.
Every lab used by D-FWMall.com is accredited by the American Association
of Blood Banks,|
|How many test systems should be run to detect an
|The genetic systems selected for routine testing
exclude at least 99.5% of falsely accused men from paternity. Testing is extended to
include more genetic systems until probability of paternity is greater than 99% or two
exclusions are demonstrated in separate genetic systems.|
|Are any other tests, such as AIDS testing
conducted at the time the genetic testing is performed?
|No other tests are performed.|
|Why cant a simple genetic test, conducted
in a physicians office, be used to determine paternity?
|Genetic analysis is more complex than most
physicians office laboratories are capable of handling.|
|What is the difference between HLA and
|HLA analysis tests antigens found on the surface
of the white cells (leukocytes), whereas DNA measures the actual genetic sequences found
in the bodys nucleated cells, by analyzing the bloods white cells or the
mouths squamous epithelial buccal cells.|
|Can a sample that is over six months old still be
used for testing?
|Traditional tests for red cell antigens and HLA
cannot be used. DNA analysis will be successful depending on how the specimen was stored,
the source of the specimen, and whether PCR-based tests are used.|
|What is paternity?
|Paternity means fatherhood. Paternity is established when a paternity testing laboratory
uses genetic testing methods to demonstrate, to a legal standard, that an alleged father
is the biological father. Paternity is disproved when these same methods and standards
demonstrate that an alleged father is not the biological father.|
|How much does the test cost?
|The kit costs $280 which includes testing for the Mother, Alleged
Father, and Child. The Mother does not have to be tested but is
recommended if she is available (the price is the same).|
|How long does it take for the results?
|The lab requires 2 weeks to complete the test unless there is a
complication such as a rare gene. The results are then mailed to
you which adds a few additional days. If you test has to be sent
back to testing due to complications, it could take an additional 10
|Does the child have to be a certain age to perform a DNA paternity test?
|There are no age restrictions with DNA paternity testing. Traditional blood testing
required that a child should be at least six months old. In addition, a large sample,
usually two big tubes of blood, was required. This would be very difficult on a small
child. However, DNA paternity testing only requires a few drops of blood (1/4 to 1/2 a
teaspoon), or cheek cells collected by swabbing the mouth. This small amount of blood, or
cheek swab, permits the testing of newborns and infants. Since DNA is set at conception, a
paternity test can be performed before the child is born, through Chorionic Villi Sampling
(CVS) or Amniocentesis.|
|Paternity testing can also be performed using post-mortem specimens collected by the
coroner's office. A paternity test can be done when that person is deceased or missing by
reconstructing his/her DNA patterns with samples from the deceased's biological relatives.|
|Can the paternity test be performed without the mother?
|YES. DNA paternity testing is so powerful that testing can be performed when the mother
is not available. The fee for a paternity test is the same with or without the mother. If
she is not tested, and the patterns between the child and the alleged father do not match,
then he is still 100% excluded from being the biological father. If the patterns match, we
can calculate a 99% or greater probability of paternity. The person who brings a minor in
for testing must provide identification for the child and sign a form indicating that s/he
has the legal authority to have the child tested.|
|Do I need a doctor's order or attorney's note to have the paternity test performed?
|NO. Although we frequently confer and collaborate with attorneys and doctors and many of
our cases do involve them, they are not required for you to have the paternity test.|
|Can paternity testing be performed before the child is born?
|YES. With DNA analysis, paternity testing can be performed prior to the birth of a
child. DNA testing can be done with a Chorionic Villi Sample (CVS), which is generally
performed around 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy, or through Amniocentesis, generally
performed 14 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Either of these procedures would have to be
performed by an OB/GYN. Any woman interested in prenatal DNA testing should discuss
these procedures with an OB/GYN. |
|How does the paternity testing process work?
|DNA is extracted from a few drops of blood, cheek cells, or cultured cells. Enzymes are
used to cut the DNA sample into fragments, which are then placed into a gel matrix. An
electric current drives the fragments across the gel - the smallest fragments move the
farthest, while the largest move the least distance. The seperated DNA fragments are
transferred to a nylon membrane, which is exposed to a labeled DNA probe, a short piece of
customized DNA that recognizes and binds to a unique segment of the tested person's DNA.
This nylon membrane is placed against a film which, when developed, reveals black bands
where the probes are bound to the DNA. The visible band pattern of the child is unique -
half matches the mother and half matches the father. The process is repeated several
times, with each probe identifying a different area in the DNA and producing a distinct
pattern. Using several probes, greater than 99.9% certainty about paternity or identity
can be acheived.|
|Since the probability of paternity reported on
the test results is always less than 100%, how can we definitely say that the alleged
father is truly the biological father?
|The closer to 100% the reported value is, the
greater the certainty of paternity. In addition, social evidence is considered in
conduction with laboratory findings.|
|Can parentage be established for a deceased
|If blood or buccal swabs are collected at the
time of death, and shipped immediately to the laboratory, standard testing can be
|Exclusionary or inclusionary testing can be
performed if the mother is deceased although numerous additional tests would be necessary.
The mothers parents may also be tested in order to improve the statistical
evaluation or confirm maternity. |
|If the alleged father is deceased, his parents
can be tested to exclude them from grandparentage. An alternative is to generate paternity
reports based on transplant list (such as heart, kidney or bone marrow), HLA typings,
tissue specimens from previous surgeries, or blood types from medical records. |
|Alleged fathers who die in motor vehicle
accidents often have specimens collected for toxicology studies. Such specimens or tissue
samples from autopsy, obtained from the coroner's office, are successfully used to
determine parentage. |
|As a last resort, the body can be exhumed and a
tissue sample removed.|
|Will HLA or DNA testing help define fatherhood in
a case where two alleged fathers are identical twins?
|The father cannot be differentiated by these
tests if the two men are identical twins.|
|Will HLA or DNA testing help define fatherhood in
a case where two alleged fathers are fraternal (nonidenitcal) twins?
|Yes, both HLA and DNA could differentiate between
two alleged fathers who are fraternal twins, but DNA has more power to distinguish between
such close relatives.|
|Will testing also show if the mother is excluded
|Although rare, several confirmed cases of
non-maternity have been found during routine testing. Most of these appear to relate to an
aunt or other custodian presenting the child for testing and then being tested as the
mother. Some instances may reflect potential welfare fraud.|
|If an alleged father is drawn from one case, but
his results are needed for another case, can his findings be used in both cases?
|Yes, there are some limitations as indicated
|If the mother and alleged father are related,
does this make any difference in the testing?
|No. When mother and alleged father are related,
the testing is valid and, depending on the degree of relationship, may actually be better
for detecting a falsely accused man.|
|If two alleged fathers are related
(brother-brother, father-son, or nephew-uncle), is the testing valid?
|The laboratory must be informed of the
circumstances, because it is possible for both men to have the same or similar genetic
markers, even when DNA analysis is performed until one man is excluded. Related alleged
fathers should be tested at the same time until one is excluded.|
|What determines the number of tests in parentage
|Current AABB standards state that the tests used
shall exclude, on average, at least 95% of falsely accused men, regardless of tests used
(serum proteins, RBC, HLA, and/or DNA). Contract requirements also affect the number of
tests performed. Testing can exclude, on average, 99.7% of falsely accused men. Additional
tests may be run if the probability of paternity is lower after initial testing or other
factors indicate additional testing. The sending agency must inform the laboratory if any
factors exist that might influence the amount of testing, such as related alleged fathers.
How accurate is DNA paternity testing?
|A DNA paternity test is the most accurate form of paternity testing possible. If the DNA
patterns between the child and the alleged father do not match on two or more DNA probes,
then that alleged father is 100% excluded which means he has a 0% probability of
paternity--he cannot be the biological father of the child.|
|Is the mouth/buccal swab accurate?
|An alternative to testing blood is a method of sample collection called buccal (cheek)
swab. Since the DNA is the same in every cell of the body, the accuracy of testing
performed on cheek cells collected with a swab is the same as using the blood. The sample
is collected by using a buccal swab and gently massaging the inside of the mouth. DNA can
be extracted from this sample. This procedure is non-invasive and painless.
This is the method used by the home test kit. |
|If the DNA patterns between the mother, child and the alleged father match on every DNA
probe, then we are able to calculate a probability of paternity of 99.9% or greater. This
result indicates that he is "practically proven" to be the biological father of
the child. Most of all the courts in the U.S. accepts 99.0% as proof of paternity.|
|For more information on accuracy please click here.|
the paternity test results confidential?
|Yes, test results are strictly
confidential. They are released only to the adult persons who were
tested and, as requested, to their authorized agents (e.g. attorneys).|
|All kits shipped
to the 50 US States in a FedEx
or Airborne Express box with no external markings pertaining to the
|We email customers when their
order has shipped by request only. |
|No follow-on activity is
initiated except by customer request.|