A friend, by definition, is someone we know and with whom we share a mutual bond of affection; someone we typically don’t consider as part of our biological families. However, a new study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) shows that our friends may actually have some of the same genetics that our fourth-cousins carry. Can you believe it? Your friends have as much relation and similarities as anyone who shares the same great-great-great grandparents.
James Fowler says, “We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population.” The study reveals we have similarities in our genetic systems not just with our friends, but with strangers as well. Researchers made the discovery after analyzing almost 1.5 million markers of gene variation from around 2,000 people.
But what does this study have to do with paternity testing?
A question often asked at IDENTIGENE by customers is, ‘Why was the alleged father excluded as a biological father if some of his markers line up (or match) with some of the child’s markers?’ As humans, we share so much of our DNA, it would strange to not see some markers line up on occasion. Even if two people are completely unrelated, as the study suggests, they may still have some similar DNA. According to this study, you could send in a complete stranger or friend’s DNA and there would be a possibility of some ‘matches.’
Friends or not, humans in general share 99% of DNA with each other, leaving only 1% of unique DNA to determine biological relationships. When trying to understand your paternity test results, keep in mind the extensive testing process that goes into studying and analyzing the DNA to determine paternity. Extensive testing includes analyzing 15-17 markers, as well as a gender marker for verification.
Let’s take a quick look into the science behind paternity testing through a hypothetical situation. Let’s say your paternity test results give a 0% probability that the man tested is the biological father. But a couple markers match out of the 15-17 tested. The alleged father may have a (10, 12) and (11,13) and the child has a (12,9) and (13,7). You may think that this is a match because both the child and alleged father share markers 12 and 13. Yet, this is just an example of how similar all human DNA can be. It is very common to see some markers ‘match’ between participants even when it was concluded the two are not biologically related.
If 3 markers do not match in DNA testing, the results are concluded as an exclusion (not the father). In order for a relationship to be established, all markers need to have a positive match. And now you know why you love your friends so much…you just might share some of the same DNA!
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