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Accuracy Of Paternity Testing
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For the purpose of paternity testing, there are different testing methods. In most cases, either the so-called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or the Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) are being applied in order to receive answers to paternity questions. This article outlines the basics of both methods and evaluates their effectiveness.
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) DNA testing method is the one you might be familiar from the movies where DNA samples are being collected by taking a sample of swab from the inner side of the human cheek. This PCR test is considered to be the faster one of both methods and carefully analyzes between 6 and 9 loci of the human DNA. On the other hand, it does not generate the depth of information as the RFLP method does.
Polymerase Chain Reaction testing usually involves taking a swab from the inner cheek for DNA samples. It is a faster test than RFLP and usually looks at between six and nine loci on the DNA. This test however does not provide the same degree of information as is provided by the RFLP test. This method is most useful when there is only a limited amount of DNA sample available. Contamination is a serious threat in this testing variant and accordingly most laboratories consider it to be a complicated one.
As for the Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism, which is the older of both testing methods, it can be said that it takes slightly longer to process the DNA sample yet the RFLP enables you to receive a higher degree of certainty. This stems from the fact that each and every loci analyzed offers a larger amount of data about the potential paternity. However, this testing method asks for a DNA sample that is a bit larger and may not be available in every case. In most cases, the RFLP is utilizing blood samples rather than the swap sample that is obtained from the inner side of the cheek.
The PCR method offers quicker results and works by multiplying the DNA material provided. As a result, the size of the DNA sample can be smaller than with the RFLP method. However, this advantage is offset by the higher risk of a possible contamination of the sample. In case you are considering to go for a PCR test we strongly recommend that your testing laboratory checks at least 10 different loci for DNA matching patterns. It is also useful to make sure that the laboratory in question has a certification such as the one issued by the AABB.
According to a report by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) the RFLP testing method has decreased over the years whilst the PCR counterpart has enjoyed a steady climb towards the top. Studies have shown that as many as 98% of all tests done in the United States utilize the Polymerase Chain Reaction testing method.
Summarizing, the differences between the two testing methods are mainly of technical nature. Both tests allow you to receive a valid answer to your question regarding a potential fatherhood.
Thomas Ruthle lives in Orange County, CA and is a freelance writer that is publishing material on a variety of topics such as paternity testing and paternity fraud.. Visit Precision of Paternity Testing.
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