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How DNA Leads to Proof of Paternity The Science Behind Your DNA Paternity Test

The Science Behind Your DNA Paternity Test

A DNA paternity test refers to a DNA test conducted to establish the identity of the biological father of a child. In the United States alone, 30% of all births recorded are to single mothers and 15% of all fathers are not the biological father of the child. In such a situation, only a DNA paternity test can reveal the true identity of a child's father.

A DNA paternity test is the most effective test that can ultimately lead to support for children from their biological fathers. Legal issues like child custody, support from child support agencies and funding programs like “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” also can get resolved through a DNA paternity test. It is thus not surprising that a DNA paternity test is performed more than 220,000 times annually in the United States.

How conclusive is a DNA paternity test?

A DNA paternity test is the most conclusive test for proof of paternity. A little overview of what a DNA is, will give us an insight into why a DNA paternity test is considered the most conclusive paternity test.

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid can be thought of as a unique signature that exists within every cell of the human body. DNA is unique for every individual and no two people in the world can have the same DNA structure.  DNA is made of chromosomes, half  of which comes from the biological mother and half from the biological father. This chromosomal structure remains the same throughout the life of an individual, at all stages of his or her life. That is where a DNA paternity test comes in. A child will have the same DNA imprint as his/her father and mother. In a DNA paternity test, a child's DNA is matched with the recorded father. If discrepancies are found then the male being tested cannot be the biological father of the child.

A blood test was earlier considered to be a conclusive one, but it often had a bit of uncertainty in it. The uniqueness of DNA has rendered the DNA paternity test to be 99.99% accurate.

How is a DNA paternity test performed?

A DNA paternity test is performed by extracting DNA from the bodies of the subjects. The extracted DNAs  are then put into a gel-like fluid and certain markers are extracted from the gel using probes; the markers are then compared. Markers can again be refered to as the “unique” element in a DNA, when we  say that a DNA is unique for an individual.

Typically, a DNA paternity test is binding only when court approved. There are various DNA paternity test kits available in the market and with the help of them one can perform a DNA paternity test at home. The problem however is that most courts do not approve such a DNA paternity test. The reason is simple – the court can never be sure about the authenticity of the sample collection procedure in a home based DNA paternity test. This is in fact the only factor that can affect the accuracy of a DNA paternity test. A professional lab may be the best place to conduct a DNA paternity test. Most labs conduct the test twice. The results from the first DNA paternity test are tallied with the second to rule out anomolies.

A DNA paternity test can not only establish paternity, but also establish ancestry, the presence of inherited diseases and also the presence of someone in a crime scene. It is the most reliable test for fatherhood.