How do DNA Paternity Tests Work?

DNA paternity testing is a very complicated and precise process. Thanks to advancements in modern science and increased understanding of human genetics, paternity test results can be more than 90% accurate. Because of this high level of accuracy, DNA testing is a very good way to determine if a man is the biological father of a child. Every single person has his or her own unique DNA (with the possible exception of identical twins who may have the same DNA, although studies and tests are still being done on the subject). This DNA can be used to identify any person with a high degree of certainty.

You may be wondering how it is possible to determine if a man is the biological father of a child, especially since children has their own unique set of DNA. How can that unique DNA be traced back to a biological father and mother? While it is true that each child’s DNA is unique, they still have genetic characteristics that they inherit from their mother and their father. These genetic characteristics are what make it possible to determine who the child’s father really is.  Still confused? Here is some additional information about how DNA paternity tests work.

DNA Basics

Before you can understand how a paternity test works, you must first understand the basics of DNA construction. DNA is made up of 4 different types of bases, which are identified by the following letters: A, C, G, and T. A practically endless arrangement of these numbers or bases is what makes up each person’s unique DNA sequence. When a child is born, they inherit DNA sequences from both their biological mother and their biological father. The mother contributes 23 chromosomes and the father also contributes 23 chromosomes. As a result, each child inherits a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes from each of their parents, and each pair comes with its own unique sequence of DNA bases. Testing a DNA sample and determining these sequences can confirm the child’s relationship to the mother and biological father.

When a paternity test is performed, the child’s DNA is first compared with that of the mother’s. Because half of the child’s DNA will be a match for the mother’s DNA, the other half of the child’s DNA will be a match for the biological father’s DNA. If the alleged father’s DNA doesn’t match the other half of the child’s DNA, then he cannot possibly be the child’s biological father.

What You Need for the Test

There are many DNA paternity tests that can be taken conveniently at home. According to DNA testing company homedna.com, these DNA tests may be submitted with just a DNA sample from the child and the father in question, but it is highly recommended that a sample of the mother’s DNA be tested as well. This is because half of the child’s DNA will match the mother’s DNA, so it is much easier to test for paternity with the remaining 50% of the child’s DNA that isn’t a match for its mother. However, if it is not possible to submit a DNA sample from the mother, a paternity test may still be conducted but the results will not be quite as conclusive. It is important to note that a child should not submit a DNA sample unless they have consent from their legal guardian or they have reached the legal age of adulthood (age 18).

Complicated and Precise

While DNA testing is much more complicated than this and involves analyzing and testing multiple segments of DNA in order to accurately figure out paternity, the brief description mentioned above is at least enough information to give you a general idea of how the process works. If you are a man who wants to know whether or not you are the biological father of a child, or if you are a woman who wants to figure out who your child’s father is once and for all, a paternity test is a great way to find the answers you are looking for. Just remember that you must receive permission from the person whom you are trying to collect a DNA sample from, so don’t be sneaky or secretive about collecting a DNA sample from anyone.

If you are looking for a quality DNA-based paternity test, you can find some reputable laboratories online that can test your DNA samples for paternity and send you the results.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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