DNA paternity testing is often an underrated and overlooked form of medical science that is often just used in typical TV shows to showcase a custody hearing episode. However, the science behind the procedure is nothing short of amazing when looked at from a different angle. This sophisticated science procedure can be a godsend to most people who have doubts about their parental responsibilities. The impact a simple DNA paternity test can provide had shaped people’s lives for the better knowing that they have the full truth with them. But how did we get to this point, in a scientific sense? What made DNA paternity testing be as great as it is now?
The science of determining the parental origin of a person began in the early 1920s. It was first tested through the use of blood typing, a medical procedure in which the blood type of the offspring would be examined to see if it matches with the father. The 4 distinct blood types that were being examined were A, AB, O, and B.
Scientists claimed that since blood types are inherited through the parent’s, a child with no match from both the father and mother would automatically result in the alleged father being deemed as not biologically related to the child. This method, however, could not fully provide proofing of the paternity but it could at least be used to determine the father in question’s legitimacy.
During the ‘60s era, the world of science has stumbled upon a great discovery. The discovery of the DNA integrating with the DNA of the parent in question has caused a massive change in the way paternity tests were being made.
The scientists have dubbed the procedure as HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing. This process of paternity testing would involve comparing the genetic fingerprints of the white blood cells of both the alleged father and the child. A spike of accuracy in terms of success has evolved to a point of around 80%. The groundbreaking change can almost perfectly determine the relationship of a parent between their child. However, the HLA typing test has been proven to be incapable of distinguishing the genetic fingerprints between 2 individuals that were closely related.
Around 10 years later, during the ‘70s, advancement in technology and research has improved the accuracy of the testing by a significant margin due to the inclusion of the first restriction enzyme isolation.
Times have changed to the point of near-perfect accuracy in paternity testing due to major breakthrough in the form of PCR, otherwise known as the “Polymerase Chain Reaction”. This method made its way into modern medicine when it was first discovered during the ‘90s. A reliably-accurate method that is being conducted by professionals on this very day.
The discovery was first identified when a scientist decided that the HLA typing procedure was too ineffective in dealing with paternity testing. DNA samples were too infinitesimally small that it was impossible to conduct an effective solution in improving the accuracy of the paternity tests. Thus, the development of a technique that can duplicate specific targeted areas (the loci) the DNA artificially in a test tube to enlarge certain specific genetic code without contaminating the sample was made. This led to scientists officially naming the procedure the Polymerase Chain Reaction Technique, or PCR for short.
This technique is used widely by multiple testing facilities, not just paternity testing. Once the DNA is extracted from the original sample, it will be exposed to different chemicals such as primers (synthetic DNA with tags to flank the necessary regions), A, T, C, & G DNA building blocks, and enzymes to ensure the duplication of the DNA would be stabilized during the entire procedure.
The DDC uses this particular method in its process in utilizing the DNA paternity test by testing 21 specific loci points. A thermocycler is used to heat and cool the DNA at a rapid pace for quick and easy replications of the DNA sample. Over 28 cycles of heating and cooling were done in a sample to produce over a million copies per DNA strand. This would be done with both the child’s and the alleged father’s DNA to compare for a match, thus providing an accurate DNA test result showing the parent relationship between the father and the child.
Further improvements in today’s technology have evolved the paternity testing method to a whopping 99% accuracy rating. In addition, you can even conduct a paternity test without the father by using his siblings or parents as a replacement.
Are you interested in taking a paternity test? Check out EasyDNA’s range of DNA paternity tests now!
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