How Can You Learn How to Interpret the Results of a Paternity Test?


Quick Answer

Boston Paternity, Universal Genetics and Cleveland Clinic provide information that can help interested parties interpret paternity tests, explain their respective websites. In general, these tests compare certain unique genetic material that testers source from both child and alleged father to prove or disprove paternity.

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Full Answer

Paternity tests assay the child's and alleged father's DNA for certain unique genetic markers, explains Cleveland Clinic. These tests compare 16 genetic markers, according to Universal Genetics. Each marker consists of two alleles, one from each parent. Paternity tests try to match alleles from a child with those from the alleged father; a 99.9 percent match conclusively proves paternity, while mismatches disprove it.

During the course of the test, laboratories assign a paternity index to each allele, notes Universal Genetics. This is a statistical measure of how well a particular marker signals paternity. Testers use this index to generate another benchmark, the combined paternity index, which measures the likelihood of a particular man, rather than a random individual from an entire population of the same race, being the biological father of the child in question.

Testers obtain samples for DNA testing by swabbing the insides of the cheeks or by drawing blood, as Cleveland Clinic explains.

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