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Terms & Conditions
Relatedness DNA Testing and General Information
DNA relatedness testing will determine the statistical weight for the alleged biological relationship between two or more individuals. These tests can be useful when the alleged parent of a child is missing or unavailable and may be used in cases involving reunification of family members, determination of estate heirs, and family class immigration sponsorship applications. Examples of the types of relationships tested include:
- Sibship DNA Testing (Full and Half Sibship test)
- Single Grandparentage DNA Testing
- Full Aunt/Uncle DNA Testing
- Y-STR DNA Testing for Patrilineage determination
With all of the tests above, there are no true “exclusions”. As such, these tests are not as conclusive as Paternity/Maternity testing. The statistical result will only speak to the likelihood of the alleged biological relationship relative to the likelihood of no biological relationship. It is important to note that there is a possibility that the final results may be inconclusive/uninformative.
This document provides a general overview of each of the above tests as well as information on Twin Zygosity and full grandparentage (both grandparents) DNA testing.
Sibship DNA Testing
In a Sibship DNA test, two individuals are tested to determine whether they share one or both of their biological parents. Full siblings share both of their biological parents. Half-siblings will only have one common (shared) biological parent. The statistical result speaks to the likelihood of the alleged sibling relationship relative to the likelihood of no biological relationship.
In general, full siblings should share more DNA than half-siblings (on average full siblings share 50% of their DNA), and half-siblings should share more DNA than any two random, unrelated individuals (on average half-siblings share 25% of their DNA). However, there is a possibility that two true siblings do not share any DNA from their parents. In these situations, the reported statistic would be low. In fact, it could be so low as to indicate the siblings are not related, when in fact they are. In some cases, a sibship test can lead to inconclusive/uninformative results and additional testing may be required.
Single Grandparentage DNA Testing and Aunt/Uncle DNA Testing
A single Grandparentage DNA test (when only one alleged grandparent is tested) is used to determine the statistical weight for a grandparent-grandchild relationship between two individuals.
A full aunt/uncle DNA test is used to determine the statistical weight for an aunt/uncle and niece/nephew relationship between two individuals. “Full” means that the alleged aunt/uncle shares both of their biological parents with the alleged parent of the niece/nephew.
The statistical result for either test will speak to the likelihood of the alleged biological relationship relative to the likelihood of no biological relationship.
On average, aunts/uncles and their nieces/nephews (or grandparents and their grandchildren) share approximately 25% of their DNA, however, there is a possibility that an aunt/uncle and their niece/nephew or a grandparent and their grandchild do not share any DNA. In these situations, the reported statistic would be low. In fact the reported statistic could be so low as to indicate the tested individuals are not related, when in fact they are. In some cases, a single grandparentage or a full aunt/uncle DNA test can lead to inconclusive/uninformative results and additional testing may be required.
Y-STR DNA Testing
A male will pass along his Y-Chromosome to his male children and therefore, Y-STR DNA testing can be used to verify relationships between male relatives based on their paternal lineage (male line). It can be useful in cases when the alleged father is missing, for reunification in adoption cases, as well as for the identification of male biological family members.
Y-STR tests can only be performed with male individuals. Common participants include a son’s possible nephews and uncles (brothers of the alleged father), brothers, and paternal grandfather. It is important to note that this test only determines the likelihood that two males are related through a paternal lineage relative to the likelihood of them being unrelated. The direct/specific relationship between males cannot be determined.
Twin Zygosity DNA Testing
Twin Zygosity DNA testing will determine likelihood that two individuals are identical twins relative to the likelihood that they are fraternal twins. Identical twins should have the exact same DNA profile. This is because they come from one fertilized egg, called a zygote. The zygote, which usually develops into one child, grows and splits early in development to form two embryos. By comparison, fraternal twins on average share only 50% of the same DNA since two separate sperm fertilize two separate eggs.
Typically the results of this DNA test are used to satisfy personal curiosity. However there are health reasons for which this test would be beneficial. In the event that one sibling requires an organ or tissue transplant, twin zygosity test results may be used as a guide in determining whether his/her twin could be a donor. If the twins are identical, each would be a perfect match donor for one another.
Full Grandparentage DNA Testing (both Grandparents tested)
In situations where the alleged parent (alleged father or alleged mother) of a child is unavailable for testing (e.g. the alleged parent is deceased or unwilling to participate), both of the alleged parent’s known biological parents can be tested to determine whether they are the true biological grandparents of the child. The test will determine whether or not the alleged grandfather and the alleged grandmother, together, possess the genetic markers that must be contributed to the child by his/her biological grandparents. As such, full grandparentage DNA testing is considered a conclusive DNA test.