How does DNA testing work?

If you are unfamiliar with DNA testing you may wonder, “How does DNA testing work?” It is a painless and simple process that starts at a collection site.

At the DNA Collection Site

All parties are asked to present government-issued photo identification (such as a Driver’s License). The Collector will complete a Chain of Custody form, collect the DNA samples by oral swabs and take a photograph of all tested parties. The legal guardian or parent must be available to sign for any test participants who are minors. If the mother is a minor, she may sign for her baby but must have a legal guardian or parent to sign for her if she is to be tested. NOTE: We will perform testing after the first half of testing fees have been received.

DNA Buccal/Oral Swab Collection

Samples for a DNA test, such as a paternity test, are routinely collected using the painless and simple buccal swab—similar to a cotton-tipped swab, but made of the special material Dacron®. The swab is rubbed against the inside cheek of the test participant, and loose cheek cells adhere to the swab. Unlike regular cotton swabs, Dacron® provides a consistent surface for sample collection and DNA extraction.

In the DNA Test Lab

The sample collector sends the swabs to our laboratory in a sealed, tamper-evident package. When samples arrive in our laboratory, our staff checks to see if the package seal is intact. Each sample is recorded into our database. Once all the samples have been received in the lab, the DNA testing begins, following these five steps:

  1. Samples from each person are divided in two. From this point on, two independent laboratory teams take the samples through the DNA testing process so that two seperate and independent tests are completed by two different Scientists.
  2. DNA is extracted from the buccal swabs and purified.
  3. The extracted DNA is added to a special chemical mix for the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a process that targets at least 16 specific locations in the DNA (called loci) and makes billions of copies of each location. (We do have the latest technology and will test additional loci as needed for precision).
  4. The products of PCR are analyzed to create a DNA profile, a genetic equivalent of a fingerprint for each tested party.
  5. For Paternity Testing: The child’s DNA profile is compared with the alleged father’s, and statistical analysis is performed to determine the probability of paternity. A 0% probability of paternity represents an “exclusion” (the alleged father is not the biological father of the tested child) and at least a 99.9% probability represents an “inclusion” (the alleged father is the biological father). Testing can also be done if the Alleged Father is not available for testing.

Paternity Testing Results

The paternity test results are typically ready 48 hours after all samples have been received in the lab. We are the only Company who will release the test results immediately by phone. We do this so that you will not have to wait to receive your DNA Testing results by mail. Keep in mind that the testing fees must be paid in full before DNA Testing results can be released. Original, Notarized, Legally admissible DNA Test results are also sent via first-class mail, email and/or fax at your request. You should typically receive your DNA Testing results in the mail within 3-4 business days. Please call 1-888-712-9639 for further information or to set up your DNA test now.

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