DNA has often been called the building block of life, and with good reason. All living organisms have DNA – those infinitesimally tiny carriers of genetic information. In fact, we have it in every single cell in our bodies, except for red blood cells. That’s a lot of DNA! As a top paternity test lab, this subject is our specialty, so of course we have a fascination with all things related to it. Here are some facts about DNA that just may shock you.
DNA FACT #1: You have A LOT of it!
- > Your body is made up of roughly 100 trillion cells (that’s trillion with a ‘t’)
- > Each of these teeny tiny little cells contains about six feet of DNA coiled super-tightly
- > If you unraveled all DNA in your body and put it end to end, it would go from the earth to the sun and back hundreds of times!
DNA FACT #2: It contains a mountain of information
- > The steps in the DNA double-helix structure are called bases and are designated by the letters A, T, C, and G. These letters’ sequence holds the code to who we are
- > The human genome has 3 billion bases and contains enough genetic information to fill 200 1,000-page books
- > To put it in a more modern perspective, that’s about 3 gigabytes of storage in a computer!
DNA FACT#3: Living organisms are more alike than you think
- > People share 99.9% of the same DNA. It’s that remaining fraction of a percent that makes us different
- > We share anywhere from 94-99% of our DNA with chimps
- > You are 75% identical to a mouse and 36% identical to a fruit fly
All of this makes sense when you consider that scientists believe that all living matter evolved from a single common ancestor. Also, we have a lot in common with other living beings: breathing, seeing, moving around. All of these jobs are connected to the function of DNA. When doing a paternity test, however, scientists don’t use the type of DNA that codes proteins for specific functions or physical attributes. Genes that are examined for a paternity test come from so-called junk DNA, which only has that unsavory name because scientists still aren’t exactly sure what its purpose is.
DNA FACT #4: If identical twins are both possible fathers of a child, the truth may never be determined
- > Fraternal twins share 50% of their DNA only, which is the same as non-twin siblings
- > Identical twins share 100% of the same DNA, which means that, if both men are possible fathers to the same child, a standard paternity test cannot determine the difference between the two men’s genomes
- > Although the men are genetically identical, they don’t have identical fingerprints
LEARN MORE ABOUT TWINS AND DNA TESTING
DNA FACT #5: Looks alone are never proof of paternity
We get a lot of questions from customers who insist that their child looks just like an alleged father (he has his blue eyes, or she has his facial shape), and so they can’t understand why a paternity test would show that the possible father and the child are not biologically related. Conversely, we also get questioned on how a child could be biologically related to a possible father when they look nothing alike.
- > A child gets 50% of their DNA from each parent
- > The traits of a child are determined not only by what their parents look like, but all the genomes from direct ancestors who came before, on both sides of the family
- > This genetic soup either can create a child that looks exactly like one or more parents, or a child that looks like neither, or something in between
LEARN MORE ABOUT FAMILIAL TRAITS
The only way to be absolutely sure that a child is biologically related to a possible father is through a DNA paternity test. Fortunately, these tests are now more affordable to the general public than ever, so it’s easy to get answers!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center.
“Hands-on DNA.” Mathematical Miscellanea (n.d.): n. pag. Hands-on DNA. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.sciencecentres.org.uk/projects/handsondna/4.8%20-%20Amazing%20facts%20and%20quiz%20questions.pdf>.
Koning, Ellie. “17 Interesting Facts about DNA.” Holy Kaw! N.p., 22 July 2010. Web. 25 May 2016. <http://holykaw.alltop.com/17-interesting-facts-about-dna>.
McElwain, Mark. “Understanding Genetics.” Understanding Genetics. Stanford University, 1 May 2009. Web. 25 May 2016. <http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask309>.
Deb Olson says
What if the father has died. If I have a living “aunt” father’s side will the test be accurate.
Hi, Deb! Testing itself is guaranteed accurate, but I think you’re concerned about whether or not you can get conclusive results if the possible father is deceased. In cases of family relationship testing like this, we highly recommending having as many participants test as possible. Having your aunt test is fine, but do you have paternal grandparents still living? Also, it hugely helps to get conclusive results if your mother can participate. Because of the more extensive analysis required, this type of testing starts at $349. I suggest you contact our experts directly at 888-404-4363, and one of them can consult with you and help determine the best testing options.
Trinity Fiduccia says
I just brought the kit from wal-mart tonight
How do I register
Hi, Trinity. Thanks for buying our test kit! Please follow all instructions inside and they’ll answer your question!
Could someone use this test for an adult child and an uncle if a father doesnt want to take the test?
Hi, Renee! Yes, you can. The participants would need to be the child, the paternal uncle, and the mother of the child. It is essential that the mother of the child participate too because her DNA can strengthen results. However, because there is so much more analysis involved, the lab fee is considerably higher than for a straight paternity test: The fee starts at $349. If you’re interested, I highly recommend that you contact a customer service specialist at our parent company, DDC, at 800-681-7162, and they can answer your questions further and schedule the test.
Why is an alleged father’s DNA (genetic markers) only valid for 30 days? Surely a person’s DNA doesn’t change….Why is their a time limitation on the use of the Genetic markers that have been previously established?
* The father is not avail for testing, but he has been tested him for a different child in the past.
Hi, Nikki. We can reuse data if the test was a legal, witnessed one. But with an at-home test, we have no way of verifying whether or not the DNA of the man tested is his, so we don’t reuse it.
You have 3 envelopes in the kit do u have to use all 3 of them ? Is there a additional fee if you use all 3 ?
HomeDNA Identigene says
Hi, LaKresha. In the kit instructions, it explains that the third envelope is for the mother’s DNA samples, should she choose to participate (it’s recommended, but not mandatory). The lab fee includes testing the mother, so there is no additional charge for that third envelope.