DNA testing has become an overarching definition for a variety of genetic tests, but each DNA test is meant for very different purposes. Here’s a brief overview of several common DNA tests.
There are three main groups of DNA testing: Forensics DNA testing, Relationship DNA testing, and Genetic DNA testing.
Forensic DNA Testing
Forensic DNA testing is also called DNA typing or genetic fingerprinting and is used by forensic scientists to help identify people by their DNA. Forensic DNA testing not only helps to identify those involved in a crime, but it’s also used to help identify victims of a catastrophe.
Forensic DNA testing works because each person has a unique DNA sequence called a DNA profile. Although all human DNA is virtually 99.9% identical, one-tenth of a single percent is different. That’s only .01%! This is the DNA that is tested in forensic testing because it distinguishes one person from another.
Types of forensic DNA samples that are submitted vary greatly, several of which contain blood, hair bone or other bodily fluids or tissue. CODIS, also called the Combined DNA Index System is an FBI database containing all DNA profiles on the state and national level. The National DNA Index (NDIS),is a national DNA index of offenders, arrestees and forensic DNA profiles. These are used as tools to assist in solving crimes by finding individuals who may be involved.
Relationship DNA Testing
Relationship DNA tests are used to determine relationships with others either on a personal level or even on a group level. There are several branches that make up this grouping such as genealogical testing (broad level) or paternity testing on a more person (personal level).
First, lets talk about genealogical testing. Genealogical testing is exactly what its title implies: It helps people learn more about their ancestry. This test can help you determine your family lineage such as where your ancestors came from geologically and to whom you may be related . This DNA testing usually involves testing your DNA compared with a pool or group of people within a database to find relationships or commonalities within the population of DNA profiles.
Another type of relationship DNA testing establishes one-on-one relationships, such as paternity testing. This is what HomeDNA Paternity is all about. This type of test can help determine parentage, or in other words, identify someone’s father and you can buy an at-home kit right in the store.
There are other types of relationship tests that must be ordered directly through the lab, such as: grandparent test (if the possible father isn’t available or is unwilling to test); a maternity test (useful in adoption and immigration cases); sibling DNA test to identify if children are full or half siblings or not even related; an aunt/uncle DNA test to determine if someone is an aunt or uncle to a child; a twin zygosity test to determine whether twins are identical or fraternal.
You may need a relationship DNA test for legal purposes, say to establish child custody, child support or for immigration purposes or you may just want to know for peace of mind.
Genetic DNA Testing
Genetic DNA testing, commonly known as clinical DNA testing, is for medical purposes. This test is used to help diagnose and predict risk for health problems.
Newborns are often screened for several genetic disorders and adults and children alike are tested for suspected genetic conditions to help with a diagnosis. Other genetic DNA tests can determine health risks for cancer, diseases, disorders, conditions as well as exercise and drug responses. In addition to helping to determine a suspected genetic condition, it can also predict the chance that person may someday develop or pass on a certain condition to their children. Many of these genetic conditions present themselves in the form of genetic mutations. Although many genetic tests exist, not all genetic disorders or conditions are testable.
There are many more DNA tests that fall within each of these three categories, but these are some of the more common tests.Originally Posted in 2014: UPDATED OCTOBER, 2021
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Unique Daniels says
what doe it mean wgen thay say dna has failed
I do apologize for the late reply. When testing has failed it could be for many reasons. Sometimes the samples are contaminated, or there could not be enough DNA on the samples to test with. This would be easiest to address by calling us at 888-404-4363 and talking to a DNA consultant over the phone about your specific case. We look forward to hearing from you.
Can a child and a so called father be tested and find out if he is the dad
We do strongly recommend including a sample from the biological mother because there is a rare chance the results will come back inconclusive without her. Including the biological mother in the testing is optional. We can do the testing without her sample included, and we do provided conclusive results on a regular basis when only testing the alleged father and the child.
The web link below will provide you with additional information about why the biological mother is sometimes needed to complete testing. I hope this information helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact us 888-404-4363 and we will be happy to assist you.
Web link: http://dnatesting.com/including-the-mother/
My question is can a sibling test be done with the DNA PATERNITY TEST or do I need to buy a different test for siblings. My mother was always told who her father was and she has a half brother by the same man. Can I use the DNA PATERNITY TEST for them to see if they are really half brother and sister?
Leslie Bryant says
Thank you for contacting Identigene. We do offer a sibling test. Since everyone gets half of their DNA from the mother and half from father, we can determine the type of relationship for siblings:
– Full vs. Half
– Full vs. unrelated
– Half vs. unrelated
The Sibling DNA test is $399, and results are typically available in 5 business days; this does depend on how your samples react to testing. You can order this test directly from us over the phone and we will send kit supplies out to each person for collection. To ensure that you select the correct test for your situation we recommend you contact us at your earliest convenience.
The test results for siblings will be one of four categories: strongly supported (conclusive), somewhat supported, inconclusive or not supported. We do strongly recommend including a sample from the biological mother (both mothers when relevant). There is a greater chance that the results will come back inconclusive without her.
I hope this information helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, or are interested in a Sibling test please feel free to contact us 1-888-404-4363 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. E.T. and we will be happy to assist you.
I’m looking to get paternity test to see if I’ve found my biological father. How can I get the $89 or less lab fee?
Our lab fee is now only $89 so that is all you will need to pay. If you end up purchasing a kit with a different price you still only need to pay $89, not the price shown.
Can the paternity test determine gender and age? What else does it determine?
Hi, Ani! A paternity test does not determine age. It does determine gender and the relationship between the people being tested.
if my daughters father passed away buy I’m trying to see if he’s also my sons dad to , how do I test them ? I bought an indentigene test and it says one alleged father and one child. but the father is dead . so am I able to just swap both of my kids to see if they have the same father ? I need answers as soon as possible
Hi, Lisa. You can do a sibling vs. half-sibling test with the children. If you contribute your DNA as well, then you greatly up your chances of getting a conclusive result. Because this test involves much more extensive analysis, the lab fee is $399. You can use the kit you have already purchased to collect samples. Just give us a call at 888-404-4363 to get instructions on how to fill out the form and/or pay the lab fee. Results are generally back in 5 business days, once samples arrive here at the lab. If you need the results for legal reasons, be sure to tell the IDENTIGENE representative when you call. Hope this helps!
wayne huthwaite says
Hi what is the higist percentage of the father to any child. i got 97.6% for my boy does this make me the father i had afew head issues accidents and lost alot of memory and never found my dna. Please can you help with this.
Hi, Wayne. Anything under 99% probability of paternity is not considered conclusive.The highest possible percentage of probability is 99.999999%. With a percentage like the one you were given, you may or may not be the biological father. Usually when a percentage is that high, but not high enough to be considered conclusive, the lab will test additional genetic markers and/or request the mother’s DNA to strengthen results one way or the other. Was your test performed recently? Because nowadays, a highly-accredited lab only issues results that are 99% or higher (if a man is considered to be the biological father) or 0% if he’s not the father. The technology is so good now that there’s really no reason to ever get inconclusive results on a straight paternity test. Hope this helps! You may want to contact the lab you tested with and see what they can do for you.
tarra digiurco says
I don’t know who the father of my two daughters are. They took a sibling test to find out if they are full or half siblings. I did not take the test with them. The test came back that they were 99.9% whole sisters how accurate are these results. Doesn’t that test only test the maternal link and not the paternal test ? How can I know for sure if they are truly whole sisters because one looks exactly like the one father i suspected was her father.
Hi, Tarra. It is unusual to get that high a probability of relationship for a sibling test when neither parent participates. When the mother’s DNA is included, it helps analysts to better sort out which DNA comes from mom and which comes from dad. I suggest that one of your daughters contact the lab they tested with for a detailed explanation about the results, just to put your mind at rest. I caution you about putting too much stock in physical appearance as an indicator of paternity…that kind of assessment is often incorrect. Only DNA can tell for sure.
I just want to ask about sibiling test can i use unreal names and can the results be sent by email not by mail
Hi, Meno. You use real names when doing any type of DNA test. However, unless you pay extra for a legal paternity test with court-admissible results, names will not appear on the report. Results are posted to a secure online account and cannot be emailed, for security reasons. So the whole process is very private. A hard-copy of the report is only sent upon request, and for an extra fee.
Ok my results said 99.99998% that means that he is the father right, cause I read the prints under it and it confused me.
Hi, Andrea. As an accredited lab, we have to use legal language in our reports. But yes, he is the father.
Why do people get 97.6 on a dna test If they are not considered the father? The mother was tested also.
HomeDNA Identigene says
Hi, Bill. With today’s technology, there is no reason why any lab should return inconclusive results with a 97.6% probability of paternity. The lab should test additional markers until they get conclusive results one way or the other. You should ask questions of the lab.