Deciphering Paternity Test Results

Now that you have done your home work, completed your research and decided to proceed with a paternity test, you have received your paternity test results.  Along with the results, you have no idea of what the information means.  So what exactly are the results and how can you decipher the information you have been given?  To begin with, the paternity DNA test profile is a set of DNA markers to determine the paternity and identity from a sample of the child's and father's DNA.  Each match receives a Paternity Index value, and once the profiles have been analyzed at all locations, the product of all paternity indexes creates the Combined Parentage Index (CPI).  It is from this sample of DNA that paternity is determined, sex of the child, medical history of the child, etc.  With the information, it allows for a more proactive and planned parenthood results.

A paternity test is a DNA profile of DNA markers that are used to determine the paternity and identity.  Usually DNA profiling uses up to 15 markers to make the determination that include the FBI CODIS markets used.  This set of markers identifies the individual and names them according to their chromosomal location. Each of the markers reveals two variation values or alleles, represented on the report.  For the purposes of a paternity test results, the analyst find matches the allele number values between the father and the child.  Since the child must receive one STR (short tandem repeats) allele from the father at all locations, there should matches at each location.  A person may be excluded from the test with as few as two or three mismatches between the DNA sample profiles.  Provided there are no mutations in the test sample, the father-child relationship will show matches at all locations. 

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When we look at the index and probability, we learn that the paternity index is a method for measuring the strength of a particular match.  It is based in part in the uniqueness of the match for each DNA sample.  Each match receives a paternity index value (PI).  Once the profiles have been analyzed at all locations, the product of all paternity creates a combined paternity index.  For a man to be considered the biological father of a child, the CPI must be at least a value of 100.  For a CPI value of at least 100, it corresponds to the probability that this man fathered the child.  According the accreditation guidelines for analysis, paternity test results must show a CPI of greater than 100 (and a probability of paternity greater that 99.0%)*  You should be aware that depending on why you are conducting DNA testing, you will need to know that most legal institutions required an accredited paternity test report.  Immigration matters require a CPI value of 200 (99.5%) or better.

In most cases, most paternity DNA test results reflect common results.  However, there are factors that need to be considered, such as genetic mutations which may complicate the paternity test results, and may determine whether a pregnancy should be terminated for any medical reason.  Also, the father and child may share common alleles, and although there are matches, the CPI value is simply not strong enough to definitively determine if the man is the biological father.  For this reason, it is beneficial to include the biological mother in any of the paternity testing since it will significantly strengthen the test results.

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