So What Do The Results of Paternity Testing Mean?

Paternity Test Results

Once you have your results, the following explanation can be helpful in explaining the meaning of the data. The paternity results are summarized in the report’s interpretation section. The results are explained in one of two ways:

The alleged father is excluded as being the biological father of the child.

The alleged father cannot be excluded as being the biological father of the child, and the probability of paternity is 99.0%. This number can be read as high as 99.9999%.

The "numbers" section of the report reveals the DNA patterns of the individuals tested. People have two genetic markers, or numbers, for each DNA system analyzed. One genetic marker was inherited from the mother, and the other genetic marker was inherited from the father. The order in which the genetic markers appear is insignificant. If the combined paternity index is a non-zero number, there is a match between the alleged father and child. If the combined paternity index is a zero, it is a "non-match" between the alleged father and child. A zero means that the alleged father is excluded as being the biological father of the child. A non-zero number means that the probability of paternity is over 99%.

Problems and/or delays with your DNA results: With any biological testing exceptions can occur. There are a few reasons why your test might not be completed in the typical time.

  1. Sample Failure: There is always a risk, though slight, of a sample not containing enough DNA for the test. This is due to collection error or the client’s mouth conditions (dry mouth, excessive tobacco usage, etc.).

  2. Single Exclusion: When just one of the DNA systems examined reveals a mismatch between the alleged father and child, it is called a single exclusion. The laboratory cannot conclude paternity or non-paternity without further testing. Further testing will reveal either: more exclusionary DNA systems, excluding the alleged father, or more matching DNA systems, indicating that the single exclusion is a mutational event. A mutational event is a naturally occurring event and does not mean that either the father or child has any medical problem.

  3. Double Exclusion: If there are at least two exclusionary DNA systems between the alleged father and child, this is called a double exclusion. However, if the two exclusionary systems reveal data that are only one number apart, there is a remote possibility that a double-mutational event occurred. This is extremely rare, but since it can occur, additional testing must be performed to give the client a conclusive result. With further testing, the same two options as for a single exclusion (described in #2, above) are possible.

  4. Low Paternity Index: If all the DNA systems examined match between the alleged father and child, usually the result indicates a 99.9% probability of paternity. Sometimes, however, the genes shared between the alleged father and child are so common that the probability of paternity doesn’t reach 99%. Further testing will likely reveal additional matches and will increase the probability to a minimum of 99%. Another cause of low paternity index is if no race is submitted on either the alleged father or mother, or if the race is not of the standard race tables.

  5. Related Alleged Fathers: All testing assumes that the alleged fathers are unrelated. Clients must notify the laboratory in advance if the possible fathers are related (i.e. brothers, father and son, etc). In such cases, additional testing will likely be required. All related alleged fathers must be tested together to obtain conclusive results, and not to implicate the wrong alleged father.



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VOLUNTARY ESTABLISHMENT – A man who wishes to acknowledge paternity – and therefore accept responsibility for the child and pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority – does so by signing a Declaration of Paternity (sometimes called an Acknowledgment of Paternity). This documentation is also necessary in order to have the father's name placed on the child's birth certificate, if desired. The father can complete an affidavit of paternity any time between the birth of the child up until the child turns 18.

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