General Health Thursday August 2, 2012

Five things you didn’t know about DNA testing

When most of us hear DNA tests we think about seedy talk shows, but there is a genuine need for these tests whether it’s simply just for piece of mind, medical reasons or as legal proof. Not many people are aware of the science behind DNA tests and the types of DNA testing that’s available, or even the fact that there are many legitimate tests that can be requested online. Below is a list of facts about DNA testing that should give a better understanding of how these types of tests work, how they can benefit people and why they are reliable.

  1. There is a difference between legal and piece of mind DNA testing

  2. Not all DNA tests are likely to stand up in court, these types of DNA tests are known as ‘piece of mind’ tests, but that doesn’t mean that they undergo sub-standard laboratory analysis. However, when a test needs to be performed to provide legal proof or verification, samples are taken in exactly the same manner, except it needs to be collected by an impartial third party like your GP and should be accompanied by the appropriate documentation. This is to ensure that any samples collected aren’t compromised before they reach the laboratory for analysis.

  3. You should have the consent of all parties when collecting samples

  4. According to the Human Tissue Act 2004, the person you are collecting a sample from needs to be aware and have consented to have it done. In the case of minors, a child’s guardian needs to consent. It is illegal to collect or store any tissue sample without the knowledge of the person the sample was collected from.

  5. Advanced PCR testing technology is used

  6. The current method of DNA testing involves PCR testing, which is currently the most accurate way to determine the probability of a person’s relationship to another person. This means that the DNA from a very small mouth epithelial sample from both parties to be able to create an accurate DNA gene profile. Similar technology is also now used to help test for diseases, including sexually transmitted infections.

  7. DNA testing is available online

  8. Many DNA tests are available online, this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be trusted, it simply means that you won’t have to look for a specialist clinic or laboratory yourself. These online services already work in conjunction with specialist DNA laboratories. So you can order the DNA test kit of your choice online, go to your doctor to have a sample collected if it’s for legal reasons or collect a sample at home and post it to the laboratory. At the laboratory they’d perform the required analysis and then forward the results to you when you are ready.

  9. There are more than just paternity tests available – anybody can do a test

  10. Patternity tests seem to be the only type of tests that spring to mind when it comes to DNA testing, but there might also be the need to prove other types of DNA relationships between people and therefore there are tests available that are able to indicate the relationship between a person and their aunt, uncle, grandparents, mother or siblings. There are also tests that can establish whether a number of individuals have the same male or female ancestor.

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