Looking At Home Dna Testing Biology Essay


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DNA or DeoxyriboNucleic Acid is called the genetic building blocks of life. Every individual has a unique DNA pattern with the exception of identical twins. DNA Testing is a method used to distinguish between individuals of the same species by using their DNA samples. DNA Tests are carried out to check the presence or absence of a particular sequence of DNA. Tests are carried out using molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction or with DNA arrays or DNA chips. With advanced medical science, DNA testing has become relatively simple, affordable and reliable. DNA tests include paternity testing and family member testing. Home DNA testing only refers to the collection of samples at home. Paternity Test is the most common form of Home DNA Testing and it is carried out to verify paternity.

In paternity testing, the DNA of a child is compared with that of the father. Paternity is determined by verifying DNA samples of the child, the mother and the supposed father. It is important to try and figure out the date of conception of the child. DNA paternity testing only requires a few drops of blood. Buccal swabs or cord blood collected at birth can also be used for fast and reliable testing regardless of age. This small amount of blood, or cheek swab, allows the testing of newborns as well. Paternity tests can also be conducted during pregnancy. These samples are compared to trace any similarities and then sent to the laboratory for verification. The results of a DNA testing are accurate and confidential.

Home DNA collection kits are also available to test ancestry, twin testing, grandparent testing and detective testing. Home DNA test kits are easily available in the market and on the Internet. These kits enables an individual to collect DNA samples at home and then send them for testing.

Steps To DNA Testing

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid is the genetic material present in the cells of a living being. Every nucleated cell has 46 chromosomes, apart from the sperm cells from the man and the egg of the woman, which only contain 23 chromosomes each. Forty- six chromosomes are essential to create a human being at the time of conception. Thus, at conception, every human being receives half a DNA from the biological father and the other half DNA from the biological mother. Usually, DNA testing is conducted to verify the paternity and ancestry of a person. DNA testing is also an important tool used in the tracking down of criminals. It is used to create a portrait of criminal suspects.

A variety of DNA testing protocols are used worldwide. They analyze a small portion of DNA that varies from person to person. Tests are conducted using molecular methods such as a polymerase chain reaction or with DNA arrays and DNA chips.

DNA testing is a very simple and affordable process. Various stages are involved in DNA testing. Firstly, it is necessary to obtain the DNA samples that have to be verified. DNA testing requires only a few drops of blood or cheek cell specimens obtained by rubbing the inside of the mouth by a swab. Most companies provide a free kit to collect these samples at home, which are then sent to the laboratory for analysis. The samples undergo a controlled procedure that includes extraction of cells from the swabs and purification and harvest of the DNA material found in the cells. The target regions of the DNA sample are copied and the different target regions of DNA are separated from each other. The results of the DNA tests are then analyzed. Generally, the entire process is repeated to confirm the result and a conclusive report is made after the confirmation of results.

The stages involved in DNA testing largely depend on the objectives behind the test. In most cases, self-sampling is sufficient to carry out DNA tests.

Criminal DNA Testing

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid refers to the genetic material in the cells of a human body. Every human being receives half of the DNA from the biological mother and the other half from the biological father. With advances in technology, DNA evidence has become a vital forensic technique to identify criminals when biological tissues are found at the crime scene. A single hair root, saliva, blood or semen can help in the identification and conviction of criminals. Sweaty shirts, fingernail clippings, urine, chewed gums, used tissues and licked stamps can also be used for testing. DNA can be used to make the portrait of a probable suspect. DNA evidence is also useful in determining skin color and eye color. DNA fingerprinting, which is also known as genetic fingerprinting, is a very important tool in the identification of criminals.

The majority of DNA of one person may match the DNA of another person. This makes the process of differentiation between two people extremely difficult. Microsatellite is a particular type of DNA sequence that simplifies the process of identification. Microsatellites are small pieces of DNA that occur repeatedly in a person's DNA. They tend to vary in a particular area and their comparison helps in identifying a person quite effortlessly.

It is almost impossible to eliminate all the physical traces of a person's presence at a place of crime. A single cell is sufficient to identify victims even in situations where the body is completely destroyed. DNA fingerprinting is not accurate as a regular fingerprinting process but it does provide some clue to begin an investigation.

In post conviction cases, DNA testing also helps attorneys in proving a client's innocence. In cases wherein the biological evidence was collected but DNA testing was not carried out, the evidence can be subjected to DNA testing to absolve the client. In cases where biological evidence was never collected or biological evidence was destroyed, post conviction on the ground of DNA testing is not possible.

Ancestry DNA Testing

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid is a term used to refer to the genetic material in the cells of a human being. Every human being has a unique DNA pattern with the exception of identical twins. DNA Testing refers to a method used to differentiate between individuals of the same species by using their DNA samples. DNA tests are carried out to check the presence or absence of a particular sequence of DNA. Recent advances in DNA testing have made the process extremely helpful in determining a person's ancestry.

People, who are adopted, often wonder about their actual ancestry. They are curious about their ancestral heritage. Several people in the US wonder if they are Native Americans or Africans or Asians. All these queries regarding ancestry can be solved with the help of DNA testing. DNA research worldwide led to the discovery of genetic markers that are used to evaluate ancestry. These markers follow 3 types of inheritance pattern categories namely, Autosomal DNA line, the paternal DNA line and maternal DNA line. The Autosomal DNA line is made of all DNA in the cells excluding the X - chromosome, Y - chromosome and mtDNA. A person inherits half of autosomal DNA from the biological mother and the other half from the biological father. The Y chromosome markers are paternally related and passed from a father to his son. They are used to trace a person's paternal ancestry. Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA are maternally related markers and are passed from a mother to her children. They are useful in tracing a person's maternal ancestry.

Various DNA companies provide home testing kits, which can be used to collect the DNA sample at home and send them to a laboratory for analysis. DNA testing requires a few drops of blood or a cheek cells specimen collected by rubbing the inside of the mouth with a cotton swab. Some laboratories also use a mouthwash or chewing gum for analysis. The results are fast, reliable and confidential.

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