HomeTechWhy Dna Testing Is Useful And How It's Done

Why Dna Testing Is Useful And How It's Done

The words “paternity testing” headlined every news story across the country when Americans waited to see who fathered model Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter Dannielynn. A child’s welfare and the control of her inheritance hung in the balance.

Reasons to Use DNA Testing

Paternity testing is really DNA testing. DNA testing is also used in immigration, relationship reconstruction (or paternity) and forensic cases. It helps establish a blood relationship and is court admissible when done in an accredited laboratory.

What is DNA?

It’s important to understand the basics of what DNA really is. DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid, is a hereditary material found in every individual; genetic material that decides many human traits such as eye color, hair color, etc. DNA is inherited, with half coming from our mother and half from our father. DNA is the blueprint for life and controls the function of cells. It indicates ancestry and biological relations.

Paternity Testing

To determine whether a man is or is not the biological father of a child, a DNA test compares the child’s DNA pattern with the adult male’s pattern. You can also use DNA testing to prove or disprove a relationship between siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or other family members. Testing can even be performed during pregnancy.

When courts need proof they turn to forensics. The scope of DNA testing is highlighted in nearly every criminal drama on television today. In the real world, forensic DNA testing is used to free the wrongly accused and convicted as well as prosecute those found guilty (with the help of science) beyond a reasonable doubt. Other examples of forensic testing are kinship analysis for the deceased to provide proof of parentage for insurance claims and Social Security death benefits. Forensic testing can also prove valuable in automobile accidents to established who was driving the vehicle by performing DNA testing on the driver’s air bag.

Relatives living in other countries who want to immigrate to the United States (U.S.) must give documentation of their biological relationships to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Sometimes that documentation is difficult to provide if birth certificates are lost, faded, or inaccurate; church, school, or census records are missing; and affidavits are difficult to obtain. Immigration DNA testing can legally prove a relationship between a petitioner and a beneficiary who wishes to immigrate to the United States.

Where to Go for DNA Testing

DNA testing is performed all over the world. If you are in the U.S., you can consult the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) list of accredited relationship testing facilities for a lab. To begin the testing process, contact an Immigration Coordinator at a reputable and accredited DNA testing laboratory. Chances are there is an accredited laboratory nearby.

Not everyone chooses to visit a DNA sample collection site. You can also provide DNA from the privacy of your own home. While self-testing results are not accepted in court, they can bring knowledge and piece of mind. Most Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kits include everything you need to collect the sample and the packaging to mail it to a DNA testing site. You can call, write, or go online to an accredited relationship testing facility and ask about their DIY testing kits.

Does Testing Hurt?

DNA sample collection is simple and painless. The most common and least invasive method for collecting DNA is with a buccal swab (which collects cheek cells). A sterile cotton swab is rubbed inside of the cheek in an up and down motion, for approximately 10-15 seconds at the same force used to brush one’s teeth. Another standard DNA sample for testing is a small blood sample, from a fingerstick; a similar method used for diabetes monitoring.

You may also be familiar with non-standard samples that are often used for forensic testing. These samples, most often collected from crime scenes, can include blood stains from garments, tissues, hats, bandannas, or underwear, cigarette butts, gum, hair (at least four to five hair strands with hair roots), and post mortem tissues.

DNA testing results generally take from two to three weeks depending on the samples provided. When you need answers that only science can supply, DNA testing is a reliable choice.

Source by Dr. Robert E. Wenk

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