Does race factor in with DNA paternity testing?


Q: Well, my daughter’s father conducted a motherless DNA paternity test and the results came back inconclusive. The lab said that they could not exclude him as the father and the results were less than 85% and they need to be 99% for the State of California. They stated that this sometimes happens with African Americans, Asians and Native Americans. I can not find any studies to confirm this statement. They also requested for his father (paternal grandfather) to come in and be tested? Why would something like this happen? This seems way off base, I have never heard anything like this. Anyone out there with any ideas or websites to confirm or deny?

A: That is a great question! I was also curious as to why this testing was motherless when you are available and I assume willing to test. Having the mother always strengthens the results of a test. The mother’s sample would be the first thing the lab I work for would request if a result was inconclusive.

The reason being is that with the mother’s DNA sample we can eliminate what she contributed to the child and focus exclusively on the DNA the father would have contributed.

The ethnicity of the alleged father can also be helpful in determining a result when it is coming back inconclusive. There are certain DNA markers that are more unique among specific ethnic groups. Knowing the ethnicity of the alleged father can help determine the strength of the matches between him and the child.

I am not exactly certain how the paternal grandfather would be helpful in your testing. It would be my recommendation to ask the lab who did your testing if your sample would be beneficial to resolving this case.