How conclusive is DNA testing? Can we trust it? Is it safe? Can it be falsified? These are the questions every person asked him or herself when they were faced with the thought about paternity testing or actual test.
We all saw those intense movie scenes where doctors are opening envelopes with DNA paternity test results, ominous music is playing, one light is flickering, and in the background woman with big hair is devilishly smiling. All of the suddenly music stops and doctor says: “The child is not his!” Oh shock, oh terror, and the devilish woman is laughing. She faked the test results.
But this is in the movie land; the reality is a little bit different. DNA paternity testing is completely safe, confidential process with multiple safeguards. When paternity test are done for legal purposes it can be done in a court admitted laboratory, where DNA samples are collected by technicians who follow samples chain of custody. Fingerprints are taken from all interested parties, and a few other safeguards are in use to protect from evidence tampering. Also test is often preformed in two laboratories, so there would be no doubt in accuracy of the result.
Although there are checks and balances in every step of the process, this does not stop some individuals from trying to falsify DNA paternity results. DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid is a unique blueprint we wore born with. Not even our brothers and sisters have the same DNA. Half of our DNA comes from our mother and the other half from biological father. This fact makes it easy for scientist to determine our parents. They take child’s DNA, from it eliminate mother’s half and the rest is father’s. Comparing it with potential father’s sample can make only two possible results; one where probability of paternity is 99% and higher, and the other where probability of paternity is 0%. Even when mother’s DNA is not available, test is possible. The testing in this case is more extensive and analysis is more detailed, but conclusive results are achieved.
Internet is full of sure thing ways of cheating on paternity tests, but none of them work. Drinking alcohol is one of those sure cheats. Except for maybe earning you DUI charge and disinfecting your mouth it does nothing to DNA. Neither do breath mints. Actually they should be a prerequisite before taking a test. Since test is performed by collecting cells from inside of your mouth it is thoughtful if you do not have morning breath. Brushing inside of the cheek with toothbrush is real popular. Brushing actually helps, it loosens more cells for technician to collect.
So the only secure way of faking DNA test is by offering a bribe to lab technician. Well, most of them are honest, and will probably report you. And spending five years in jail for DNA tampering, which would be official charge, does not seem like a most productive thing one can do with one’s time.