Fact & Fiction: DNA Testing

January 6, 2017

 

When it comes to DNA testing, there are many myths and misconceptions out there. To those who are unfamiliar with the process, the science behind it all may seem complicated and elusive. That’s why this week, we’ve decided to answer some of our most frequently asked questions about DNA testing.

 

If you’re considering participating in a DNA test or are just curious about the process, this FAQ is for you:

 

1. Is a blood test more accurate than a cheek swab?

 

No. Simply put: DNA is DNA. That is, the DNA in your blood cells is the same as the DNA in your cheek cells, meaning the results would be the same for either method.

 

The reason we exclusively perform cheek swab DNA testing at Tracepoint is that it is less invasive while yielding the same level of accuracy as a blood test.

 

2. Can you perform a DNA test on a strand of hair?

 

Yes—HOWEVER, a hair specimen is only viable for testing if it is plucked from the body. Hair that is collected from pillows, combs, or clothing is unlikely to be viable testing. This is because it is imperative that the root of the hair be intact, as that is where DNA is located.

 

In any case, the hair specimen must first be tested by the lab for viability in order to confirm that DNA is in fact present. If that test confirms viability, the specimen may then be tested against another in a DNA Paternity Test or Relatedness Test.

 

3. How long will it take to receive the results?

 

For DNA Paternity Tests, results are typically available in 2-3 business days. For other Relatedness Tests, timelines vary, but results are typically available within 7 business days.

 

4. Why choose a Legal Paternity Test (as opposed to a Personal Knowledge Test)?

 

If you intend to use your paternity test results for any legal purposes (e.g. custody cases, inheritance, adoption, etc.), we strongly advise you to choose a Legal Paternity Test rather than a Personal Knowledge Test.

 

While the results of a Personal Knowledge Test are every bit as accurate as those of a Legal Paternity Test, the Legal Paternity Test involves specific collection procedures as well as a Chain of Custody, which substantiate its validity so that the results may serve as evidence in a court of law.

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