The DNA Testing Guide
by Farrugia, Christopher
Even with advanced technology and scientific progress, DNA tests require the right skills and professionalism. You need a scientist who can provide you with the highest level of accuracy and results you can rely on, for private purposes as well as in court. Check what to look for when choosing a DNA profiling service.
Reputation of a laboratory is a very important factor when deciding in which direction to go. A good reputation is not gained overnight and requires many efforts. A reputable scientist will not only provide quality and accurate tests but will also provide outstanding customer service. Every client will be given personal attention with a thorough explanation of the test and process. Professional staff should clear all your doubts and provide you with all the support you will need. With a sensitive matter of paternity tests, at times the result can be hard to take. At a laboratory, they should prepare you for that and warn that result might be not always pleasing.
Years of practice allow specialists to polish the process of their work, as well as learning from difficult cases. Encountering various scenarios gives them unique abilities to solve problems faster and more efficiently. Also, an experienced scientist is familiar with various procedures, including supplying documentations and reports for court.
If you have doubts or can’t establish the experience and reputation of a laboratory clearly, you might want to ask if they have any certificates. The most popular one is ISO. A laboratory with such certificate has to follow internationally recognised procedures and standards and is frequently inspected. This might help you to make your mind.
Types of tests
The range of possible tests is very broad. Starting from DNA testing for paternity tests, familial relationships or ancestry testing. But you can also have tests for skin DNA, sports DNA or DNA healthy weight. Another branch of DNA tests is forensic science, which serves for criminal and civil court cases. You can as well test your animals, as for example tests for bird sexting or breed status. Apart from that, some laboratories may offer additional tests like chemical analysis of the amount of ethanol in the blood and harmful chemicals.
Accuracy for every test is extremely important. Especially for DNA tests, which often are a matter of extreme sensitivity. The accuracy of DNA testing can differ depending on laboratory’s standards. They can provide results with 99.0% accuracy. However, you should aim for 99.99% accuracy, which is approximately a DNA pattern which fits one in every 10,000 men. Pay attention if this level of accuracy is guaranteed or if it is just what laboratory prays itself for. Ask if you can get this level even with excluding mother from a test or if they encounter a mutation. DNA mutation are difficult cases, however, if a laboratory can guarantee you still 99.99% of accuracy you can assume they have a good experience and procedures in place.
Ask how many DNA locations are included in the price. The best is to get 15 genetic markers plus the gender one, tests with this amount of markers are more reliable. If that’s the standard procedure, it can give you a good idea about the professionalism of a laboratory.
Make sure that the result obtained from the laboratory has legal power and can be submitted to the court. They should fit requirements and be conducted up to certain standards. The best way to achieve that is to choose a laboratory which has past records of similar cases presented in the court.
Always ask for a detailed cost of the test, not a general amount. You will want to know how many DNA markers are included in the test and if additional ones are paid extra. Also, which level of accuracy is guaranteed, not probable, and what happens if laboratory won’t be able to achieve it. Ask what happens if you have 99.99% accuracy guaranteed and they provide you with the results with 99.0%. Are you entitled to a refund or the test will be repeated? Does prolonged testing cost extra or is it included in the price? All this information will help you establish how professional is a laboratory.
Ask about the collection of samples, will it be done at the laboratory or you can supply it by yourself. Inquire how much accuracy can they guarantee from different materials. The best material is saliva and blood, however, DNA can be extracted from different materials. You can usually supply toothbrush, chewing gum, hair or nails. You should also receive an instruction of how to collect the samples properly and supply them to a laboratory.
This article is brought to you by Farrugia, Christopher, DipMLS, PgD Forensic Science(UK), the scientist with experience and high standards.
With diploma in Forensic Science and over 25 years of experience, Mr Christopher Farrugia is providing professional tests for DNA paternity and familial relationship testing, as well as bird sexting and establishing breed status. If you need any professional test or advice, call for more information.