Even the best DNA test can still leave you with some questions
Like many other categories within the sciences, DNA testing
has come a long way over the years. It is a highly useful tool for identification, and can be used for parental testing, genealogy discovery and forensics, where it aids criminal investigators in identifying both suspects and victims.
If you’ve ever watched Maury tell someone that they “are the father!”, you already understand the impact a DNA test
can have. But is there any one best DNA test? For those among us facing a situation that requires a test, it’s a common enough question.
Put simply, every cell in our bodies contains complete DNA sequences, called genetic markers. These markers are part of the code used to produce DNA test results, and they feature the same DNA – regardless of where they came from within the body. The accuracy of DNA testing is incredibly important – just ask the people who’ve been cleared from a wrongful conviction because of DNA evidence!
This is why scientists test using more than one marker, and the type of test isn’t nearly as important as the sample size. The best DNA test, then, is the one conducted using more markers. The more genetic markers used, the more accurate the test will be, and the odds of two non-relatives having the same genetic profiles based on six to 10 markers is less than one in a billion.
Understanding DNA test costs
Using more markers for a DNA test is typically unnecessary, given that most tests performed are almost 100% accurate. However, if you’re unsatisfied with your results and are considering trying again, keep in mind that more markers makes a test significantly more expensive. As for the other factors that can contribute to pricing, Doug, a Law Expert on JustAnswer, weighs in on what to expect with DNA test costs
“The cost of DNA testing depends on the lab doing the testing and whether they will be testifying as to the results in a legal proceeding,” he explains. “The testing of the samples themselves run between $500 and $1,000 per sample tested.”
- Evidence analysis for DNA presence – $200 (per test)
- Swab sample testing – $450
- Degraded sample testing – $1000
Using DNA test kits at home
You could make the argument that since different DNA testing procedures yield the same results, the best DNA test will be the most convenient one. Since there are so many ways to collect DNA, the testing procedure can be started without any professional oversight.
Dr. David, a Medical Expert on JustAnswer, says there are DNA test kits
that can be sent to your home from certain legitimate websites (https://www.gtldna.net/, http://www.dnacenter.com/, http://www.dnatesting.com/). He also advises, “You can also talk to your doctor about it as well and get the testing through your doctor’s office.”
Test kits typically use swab samples, since they’re easy to obtain and don’t need to be refrigerated like blood samples. They also contain the same DNA, and are actually preferable to blood
since the latter can change as a result of a recent bone marrow transplant or blood transfusion. The specific instructions for home DNA testing
will vary based on the kit itself, but the difficulty level should always be quite low. You’re only swabbing the inside of your cheek, after all.
Are DNA test results foolproof?
If you’re involved in legal proceedings, few things can make or break your case like DNA test results. Unfortunately, you may find yourself facing an outcome you didn’t believe possible. If this happens, it’s normal to wonder if you can get re-tested. When helping a customer who’d taken a state issued paternity test and was displeased with the DNA test results
, Lucy, a Law Expert on JustAnswer, explains that this isn’t always a viable option:
“Unless you have some evidence that the test results were doctored, unfortunately, no, there is no automatic right to request a second state-paid DNA test. DNA test results are 99.9999% effective, and they are conclusive evidence of paternity.”
However, Lucy goes on to say that your hands aren’t necessarily tied if you’re determined to attempt some course of action. “What you can do is purchase a DNA test on your own, do that, and see if the results are different. There are plenty of websites and drugstores that now offer these tests, and while they aren’t as effective as the official tests, it might help to get a second opinion.”
There is no shortage of options when it comes to the best DNA test for you, but you might still have questions about how to proceed. For more specific help that can ease your mind, turn to the Experts on JustAnswer
Have you had any DNA testing results that surprised you? Share your experience with us in the comments below!