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Cheating in a Paternity test (Part II)

Posted on | May 5, 2010 | Comments Off

Cheating in a Paternity Test part I highlights some ways in which people actually cheat and how to deal with it if you suspect someone may have a propensity to cheat in the paternity test; this article explains some of the ways in which people may cheat in a paternity test and how they will be caught out.

Understanding DNA sample collection and how labs detect cheating

DNA sample collection is extremely simple. However, cheaters may deliberately try to break some of the mandatory instructions to effective sample collection. They may for example, deliberately smoke or eat before the test or touch the swabs with their finger tips. In such cases, the DNA sample could be degraded and laboratory analysts will detect this as they may not be able to work with such samples; they will probably stop the test and ask for new swabs to be sent in.

Another common tactic of DNA contamination is using the same swab for more than one person; thus the mother may swab herself and her son in an attempt to alter the results of the test. In such cases, laboratories will detect multiple DNAs or what is referred to as a mixed DNA profile. Of course, they will not be able to proceed with the testing using such samples.

Attempting to send a non-human DNA sample is a rather far-fetched, desperate attempt at altering results and will get the cheater in the paternity test absolutely nowhere; however, it has been attempted.

Cheating in a paternity test can take place by switching swabs; in such a case, for example, the mother would put her swabs in the father’s envelopes. Laboratories offering infidelity tests, such as homeDNAdirect , will detect attempts at cheating because, as a quality control measure, they test what it known as the amelogenin sex gene in all samples sent in. The amelogenin sex gene is one of the sex determining genes and is present in both male and female DNA. However, the amelogenin sex gene on the male specific Y chromosome will display different peaks when tested to the peaks for the gene on the female X chromosome. The testing of this gene is also central to infidelity DNA testing ; a test that can help solve issues relating to suspected cheaters and infidelity.

What about if the cheating in the paternity test involves submitting the swabs of a friend?

If for example, the father has asked his male best friend to submit swabs instead of him, laboratories will not be able to detect this. However, the result of the test will definitely be an exclusion of paternity. Moreover, should the cheater be caught out there could be serious legal consequences.

It is not common for people to cheat in a paternity test. However, it can happen. Generally, we can rely on the moral integrity of people, that they genuinely want to know the truth even if it may not be what they want to hear.

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