DNA analyses are the most accurate way to confirm or refute biological relationships. A simple and painless buccal (mouth) swab sample is collected from each individual. The sample contains cells, and most of the cells in our body contain a full set of genetic information in the form of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). A person’s DNA represents a “genetic blueprint” and, like a fingerprint, it is unique to each individual. At the laboratory, the DNA is extracted from the cell and specific regions of the DNA are amplified by a process known as PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The DNA patterns of the individuals are compared to determine if they are biologically related.
For parent-child relationships (paternity and maternity tests), these genetic analyses provide greater than 99.9% probability of a biological relationship for inclusions and 100% for exclusions. For other relationship tests, an index value is provided, which indicates the likelihood of a biological relationship.