Almost 300,000 paternity tests are conducted in the US each year to determine whether or not someone has fathered a child.
Paternity tests are considered the gold standard procedure in using DNA to either exclude or confirm the fathership of a child. They are often taken to settle disputes over child support and child custody.
Most people have heard of paternity testing, but many people don’t know exactly how the process works. Let’s take a closer look.
All About DNA
Every single person on the planet has a unique print. This print is coded into our DNA. DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid, is present in every cell in your body.
The DNA resides in the nucleus of the cell, and it contains all of your genetic information. There are over 100 trillion cells in your body. The only common trait that all of them share is your DNA.
You get your genetic information from your parents, 50% from your mother, and 50% from your father. Paternity testing is all about analyzing your DNA to either find or rule out a match. These matches are determined by looking at genetic markers and correlating how many match the child’s markers.
What Happens During a Paternity Test?
A DNA paternity test has two stages. The first stage is the collection of the DNA, and the second is the extraction and collection of the DNA for analysis.
When you take a DNA test, the first thing you need to do is provide a sample. You will have swabs that you run over the inside of your cheek. This is a straightforward and painless process.
Each participant is given four swabs to ensure a complete and consistent sample. You should perform each swab by pressing gently but firmly on the inside of your cheek and running the swab over. You will do all four swabs, one right after the other. An accompanying adult can swab children.
The swabs are then placed into sealed paper envelopes, where they are sent off to the lab for assessment.
In the Lab
Once the samples have arrived at the lab, geneticists extract the DNA from the cells. They do this by using chemicals to break open the cell.
They will then amplify the DNA. In genetic terms, this essentially means that they make copies of your DNA. The process creates millions of copies that scientists can then load into a primer (a special machine for analyzing DNA).
The amplified DNA can now be analyzed and separated into around 12-16 different genetic markers. From here, geneticists can see how many of your markers match with the child’s. They then use a calculation to break down the probability of paternity. If you share no markers with the child, you will be excluded as the father.
Paternity tests are incredibly reliable at proving you are the father. They offer 99% accuracy providing nothing has been tampered with or gone wrong during the process.
Paternity Tests are Easy and Reliable
Paternity tests have been the only accurate way of determining the father of a child for many years now. They are easy, not too invasive, and provide accurate and reliable results. This can make the whole process of determining paternity a lot easier.
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