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What is DNA? PART 1. HUMAN DNA & THE SCIENTIFIC BASICS

FAQS
  • What is the age limit for DNA tests?

    There is no age limit on DNA tests. A DNA test can be performed on an individual at any age.
  • What is a buccal swab?

    Buccal swabbing is a non-invasive way to collect DNA samples from the cells of a person's inner cheek. Buccal means cheek or mouth. A buccal swab resembles a large cotton tip. It is used to collect cheek cells by rubbing the inside of the cheeks. A buccal sample is as accurate as a blood sample. Check Sample Accuracy page to learn more.
  • What if the father is not available?

    It is possible to establish paternity even without doing an paternity test. Paternity can in fact be established by testing relative of the alleged father or your sibling. If only the child and relative of alleged father are tested, the results may not be completely conclusive. If the mother's DNA sample is available for the testing, the results will be more conclusive.
  • How long can I get my results?

    Once all the specimens have been received at the lab, results take an average of 3 business days. Rush results are available upon request.
What is DNA? PART 1. HUMAN DNA & THE SCIENTIFIC BASICS
Issue Time:2015-10-01

We've all heard of 'DNA', and we know that we have DNA in our body, but what really is DNA?

As a basic scientific definition, DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, and is the building block for a chromosome. Each chromosome is made up of a pair of DNA strands and is located in the nucleus of each cell in our body. Each strand of DNA is made up of smaller protein molecules, called nucleotides, more commonly known as base molecules, or bases for short. 

There are four (4) bases - adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). The two strands of DNA are linked together at each base by hydrogen bonds. This pair of DNA strands twist around a central axis to give the special double helix shape with which we are all so familiar.

The DNA strands wrap around a group of eight histone protein molecules, creating a large ball-shaped structure, called a nucleosome. These nucleosomes arrange themselves into a helical shape, similar to a bungee telephone cord, in order to be as compact as possible. This helical strand is compacted even further by 'supercoiling' and overall forms a single rod-shaped structure called a chromatin.

Just before cell division, the chromosome makes an exact copy of itself and turns into that characteristic 'H' shape. The chromosome is now made up of two identical chromatids joined at a point called the centromere.

Chromosomes in Paternity Testing

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, with 23 chromosomes inherited from the father and the other 23 from the mother. Together, these chromosomes hold all the information necessary for the construction and maintenance an individual human being - like a special recipe book to create every protein needed by our body to grow and repair itself.

Each set of 23 chromosomes combined have three billion base pairs that contain roughly 23,000 protein coding genes. A gene is a distinct length of base pairs on a DNA molecule. A locus (plural = loci) is the location at which a gene can be found.


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The Danger Of Unreliable Paternity Tests

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DNA Tech Lab (DTL) Paternity Testing Process

What Is Junk DNA And How Does It Affect My Paternity Test?


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