We continuously receive inquiries from customers questioning if it’s possible for one participant of paternity testing to switch samples, either with themselves or someone else, or if they could have changed the DNA somehow by eating before collecting DNA.
Let’s address these questions one scenario at a time.
Mom submits her DNA as the alleged father’s sample for paternity testing
One question we encountered recently was a concerned alleged father who thought maybe the mother of the child could have swabbed herself in his place to force the results to show “not excluded,” meaning he is considered to be the biological father. In a nutshell, getting false results from this scenario is impossible.
- In all paternity testing cases our laboratory includes the amelogenin gene to verify the sex of all participants. This helps to verify the alleged father being tested is male and the mother is female.
- We also verify the sex of the child.
This means mom could not swab herself and submit her sample as the alleged father without our laboratory experts discovering it. If this does occur, we place the paternity test on hold and contact the participants to ask them to re-swab the correct participants. Another sign that the mother swabbed in the alleged father’s place would be that during testing, the mother and father would show as having identical DNA, which is not possible. This is a red flag and cause the paternity testing to come to a stop.
Alleged father switches his sample with someone else’s
Is it possible that the alleged father could have switched his own samples with someone else’s? If you purchase the home DNA collection kit for paternity testing purposes, the results you receive are not court-admissible. This is because the laboratory cannot verify whose samples were actually received. If the participants do not collect the samples together and mail them off together, there is always a risk that someone could switch their samples with someone else. If you are in a situation where you doubt the honesty and reliability of the other test participant, we always recommend a legal paternity test collection. This type of testing is identical to personal testing except that participants to a third-party collection facility to have their DNA collected by a disinterested Collector. The Collector verifies ID and take photos of each participant. The collector then sends the samples to the lab for testing to establish an impartial chain of custody, thereby verifying samples could not have been tampered with.
Eating or drinking before DNA collection in paternity testing
One last scenario has to do with whether someone can alter their DNA by eating or drinking something before they swab their mouth. The answer is no. You cannot alter your DNA by putting anything in your mouth.
We do ask that you don’t eat or drink anything for about an hour before collecting the DNA samples, and this is to keep food or anything else off the swabs. Eating or drinking before the collection can cause remnants to get on the swab with the DNA, degrading the sample. In most cases, eating or drinking won’t affect the sample, but there is always that chance. If we can’t get a profile, we need to recollect samples for the participant for re-testing.
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