According to BV Labs friendly customer service representatives, some of the most common reasons individuals request a curiosity test include:
- Individual(s) want to remain anonymous
- A parent wants to complete a paternity test without the knowledge of the other parent
- Less expensive than legal paternity testing
- An individual was adopted as a child and wants to verify whether or not they found their true biological parents (or other family members)
- Grandparents have questioned their grandchild’s paternity and want to determine if they are actually grandparents.
The Importance of DNA Testing
When considering the use of a DNA paternity test kit, people generally think about its traditional use in investigations to link perpetrators to crime scenes. Introduced in the mid-1980s, DNA testing is indeed used in investigations and provides admissible, defensible results for use in courts. DNA testing results have also led to the exoneration of wrongly convicted individuals. As the sole external Forensic Biology and DNA testing contractor to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) since 2001, BV Labs has processed more than 7,667 cases (from varied, forensic biology-related, criminal classifications), representing more than 19,000 casework items examined. However, DNA testing has other uses including its use in demonstrating the likelihood of various familial relationships. BV Labs specifically offers paternity and maternity testing, as well as sibling, grandparent, and avuncular (aunt/uncle/niece/nephew) testing.
Many high profile examples of the importance of familial testing have been reported by the media. In 2016, a former Ottawa fertility doctor was accused of inseminating at least two women with his own sperm. In another case, a multi-billionaire businessman from Nigeria passed away, leaving his 16 children in a legal battle over their paternity and the resulting shares of the estate. A more common example of the use of paternity testing is in custody disputes. Clearly, there is a need for this kind of DNA testing in our legal system, but BV Labs also offers a unique option for individuals to anonymously submit DNA samples for non-legal familial testing. This is accomplished with the help of a Home DNA test kit.
The Science Behind DNA Testing
DNA, or ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’, is the building block of life found in nearly every cell that makes up a human being. It can be thought of as a sort of blueprint or genetic code that your body uses to make you. DNA testing relies on two key facts:
- The DNA that makes up a single individual is unique when compared to the DNA sequence of any other human being. Identical twins are the only exception.
- A person inherits half of their DNA or genetic code from their biological father and the other half from their biological mother.
Humans are complex beings whose DNA sequences are very long. For this reason, it is more efficient and cost-effective for DNA testing to compare a number of specific regions of DNA that have been found to vary between individuals. If the alleged biological parent in a Paternity/Maternity test possesses the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological parent, then it is considered an inclusion and the probability of paternity (or maternity, if applicable) is calculated. If the alleged biological parent does NOT possess the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological parent, then it is considered an exclusion (the probability of paternity/maternity is 0% – see Common Curiosity Test Scenario). Different statistical calculations are performed for the other types of tests (eg. sibling, grandparent, and avuncular tests) but they all involve comparisons between the same specific regions of DNA.