Where questions of paternity are involved, it’s vitally important to get accurate answers. Modern technology provides us with the ability to analyze basic genetic building blocks, which are known as DNA. This makes it possible to determine who a child’s father is with an incredibly high degree of accuracy. These results can settle legal matters or satisfy curiosity concerning a person’s paternity. Understanding how DNA paternity testing works makes it easier for interested parties to feel confident about the outcome. It’s important to know the answer to “Paternity tests – how they work”, before buying a kit.
DNA paternity testing begins with a buccal, or cheek, swab. Depending upon how the test results will be used, the sample is taken by a technician in a lab or may be done by the test subject at home. The swab used to collect the sample is a special one that allows skin cells to cling to its surface. Not so many years ago, blood tests were required to check for paternity. These tests merely looked at blood type. Accordingly, this method was far less precise. Test results could rule out that a certain man was a child’s father, but could not prove that he was the father.
DNA paternity testing is much more accurate. This accuracy is possible despite the fact that most DNA is identical from person to person. Nonetheless, portions of each person’s DNA are unique, and it’s these portions that determine a person’s paternity. An individual’s DNA comes to them from their father and mother. Accordingly, more accurate test results can be achieved if the lab tests the DNA of the mother, child and possible father.
DNA is expressed through four base letters, A, C, G and T. These letters form a code called the DNA sequence. Approximately every one thousand letters or bases, an individual will have a different letter when compared to a large selection of other individuals. Frequently, a lab will rely on a process called DNA restriction analysis to look for similar DNA sequences between a child and his parents. This process locates the places in the DNA sequence that are cut by restriction enzymes. These enzymes are capable of cutting DNA, and each enzyme looks for a specific base sequence to cut. When a technician locates these cuts, they are able to determine a person’s parentage with up to 99.9 percent accuracy.
This accuracy rate is what makes DNA paternity testing so reliable. It’s so trustworthy that these results can be relied upon in a court of law. Of course, it isn’t necessary to wait for a child to be born in order to conduct DNA paternity testing. Paternity testing before birth is a possibility when the mother needs to prove the identity of her child’s father beyond a reasonable doubt.