DNA testing is not new. We’ve been using DNA testing since the early eighties to determine biological relationships, replacing the less precise biological markers of the past. What is new is how DNA is expanding to become even more conclusive and with easier ways of testing. Everyone is familiar with paternity tests, but the science has advanced far enough to determine paternity before a baby is born, even when the father is not available for testing.
Prenatal DNA Testing, How Does That Work?
As early as the seventh week of pregnancy, paternity can be tested. This test requires a blood sample from the mother, where the DNA from the mother is separated from the fetus and compared against a mouth swab from the father. Using Next Generation Sequencing, more than 2,500 markers are tested. The result is a 0% match for samples who aren’t a match and a 99.9% accuracy for those that are.
But what if the father cannot be tested?
Can You Determine Paternity Without The Father’s DNA?
If you find yourself in a situation where paternity needs to be determined, but the father is deceased or unavailable, you aren’t without hope. You can still identify paternity based on a paternal grandparent or by testing DNA markers from the child’s aunt or uncle. Grandpaternity can be determined using DNA from the child and one grandparent, though testing the child’s DNA alongside both grandparents, as well as with DNA from the biological mother. can give you even more accurate results.
Family Testing Continues
Though it is less ideal and not as common, DNA can also be determined using a paternal sibling in a process known as a DNA Avuncular Test. In this case DNA from the child and the paternal sibling would be compared and the results will be stated as a “percentage of likelihood.”
Another option is to determine whether a child has siblings--- either full siblings who share both parents, or half siblings who have only one parent in common. While these alternative tests are not as accurate as a paternity or grand paternity test, they can still provide valuable information about biological relationships, especially as we see new and unprecedented reasons for trying to discover previously unknown family relationships due to adoption or ancestry research.
Are There Non-Paternity Reasons To Test DNA?
DNA Testing is a simple procedure that can provide you with all sorts of valuable information about your family and genetics. For example, DNA testing can help you determine if you are predisposed to certain disease or illness as a result of genetics. While no one wants to hear of a high likelihood of disease, this knowledge can arm you with a healthcare strategy that can reduce or eliminate your risk of disease. One of the more common genetic testing is the BRCA gene test that is used to identify mutations in cancer susceptibility genes. Well known public figures like Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie and former White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany both used DNA testing to identify these high risk genetic mutations and both chose to take quick, preventative action to eliminate their chances of those mutations developing into a fatal cancer diagnosis.
There is a variety of valid reasons to test your DNA, from determining and monitoring your potential for disease and providing clarity in your family tree, to custody battles and securing a verdict in court cases. DNA Specialists of Houston can help you find the test that is best for getting you the results you need for your situation. Click here for more information on DNA Testing for yourself or for your client.