A story that touches the heart was once featured by The PUNCH. It was the story of a middle-aged man who discovered that a young man he raised from birth and nurtured till he clocked 32 was not his biological son.
The man, who resides in the United Kingdom, Mr Oscar, was forced to arrange for a paternity test on his erstwhile son, Valentine, when his wife allegedly told their presumed son that Oscar was not likely to be Valentine’s biological father.
Valentine had dragged his supposed father, Oscar, to a DNA test centre in Britain upon hearing the news. It was reported that Mr Oscar took Valentine to England from Nigeria and put him through school till graduation in the University of Britain. The result of the DNA test was read to Oscar who wailed in agony as the results said there was “zero per cent chance” he and Valentine were biologically related.
The DNA is like an instruction manual for how to build a person. Most DNA is basically the same in everyone – two eyes, two ears, one nose, etc – but there is enough variation in certain parts of the DNA that everyone turns out slightly different from everyone else.
Because of this, DNA can be used to identify individuals. Human DNA can be extracted from many types of body fluid or tissue; saliva, semen, blood, hair or nails. Also DNA can be extracted from an item that is contaminated with body fluids, such as chewing gum, cigarette butts or sanitary towels.
DNA paternity testing is the use of DNA profiling, known as genetic fingerprinting, to determine whether two individuals are biologically related. A paternity test establishes genetic proof, whether a man is the biological father of an individual, and a maternity test establishes, whether a woman is the biological mother of an individual. Tests can also determine the likelihood of someone being a biological grandparent to a grandchild.
In the case of a paternity test, for example, if we test a child and its mother, we can compare where the two match. This tells us which parts of the DNA have come from the mother. Therefore, the remaining parts must have come from the father. If we look at a man’s DNA and it matches those remaining points, the man is the father. If the parts don’t match, the man could not have supplied the child’s DNA and he is therefore not the father.
DNA can also establish relationships between siblings and more distant relatives as they all will have common DNA inherited from an ancestor.
The testing is performed by collecting buccal cells found on the inside of a person’s cheek using a buccal swab or cheek swab. The buccal cells are then sent to a laboratory for testing. For paternity testing, samples from the alleged father and child would be needed. For maternity testing, samples from the alleged mother and child would be needed.
Consent is required for DNA testing
If the child is under the age of 18 years, both parents must consent to parentage testing for the result to have legal standing. All persons being tested must complete a form proving consent on the day of testing.
Accuracy of DNA Tests
DNA paternity testing has the highest likelihood of excluding a falsely assumed father. A man who does not match the child’s paternal DNA type can be excluded with 100 per cent certainty. If the man is not excluded, then with DNA testing, the probability of him being the father can be determined up to 99.999 per cent.
In the interest of the parties being tested, when the results are ready, the written reports are forwarded to a medical or legal professional as nominated by the applicant. Counselling before and after the test is also mandatory. This ensures confidentiality of the test results, as well as professional supervision of the circumstances of the DNA test.
Peace of Mind DNA testing
Questions about paternity and simple relationships can be answered by taking a Peace of Mind DNA tests. The sample collection processes for Peace of Mind testing are not admissible for legal purposes. Testing can determine paternity, maternity, common paternal lineage, siblingship between two sisters and twin testing. Prenatal paternity testing is performed by using samples of the unborn child either by chorionic villi, obtained by the CVS procedure from 10 weeks gestation or amniotic fluid, obtained by amniocentesis from 14-16 weeks gestation.
Child and Public Health Physician