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DNA Facts That Just May Shock You

  • 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.
DNA Facts That Just May Shock You
Issue Time:2017-05-23

DNA has often been called the building block of life, and with good reason. All living organisms have DNA-those infinitesimally tiny carriers of genetic information. In fact, we have it in every single cell in our bodies, except for red blood cells. That's a lot of DNA!  As a top paternity test lab, this subject is our specialty, so of course we have a fascination with all things related to it. Here are some facts about DNA that just may shock you.  

    DNA FACT #1: You have A LOT of it!

  • Your body is made up of roughly 100 trillion cells.
  • Each of these teeny tiny little cells contains about six feet of DNA coiled super-tightly.
  • If you unraveled all DNA in your body and put it end to end, it would go from the earth to the sun and back hundreds of times!

DNA FACT #2: It contains a mountain of information

  • The steps in the DNA double-helix structure are called bases and are designated by the letters A, T, C, and G. These letters' sequence holds the code to who we are.
  • The human genome has 3 billion bases and contains enough genetic information to fill 200 1,000-page books.
  • To put it in a more modern perspective, that's about 3 gigabytes of storage in a computer!

DNA FACT#3: Living organisms are more alike than you think

  • People share 99.9% of the same DNA. It's that remaining fraction of a percent that makes us different.
  • We share anywhere from 94-99% of our DNA with chimps.
  • You are 75% identical to a mouse and 36% identical to a fruit fly.
All of this makes sense when you consider that scientists believe that all living matter evolved from a single common ancestor. Also, we have a lot in common with other living beings: breathing, seeing, moving around. All of these jobs are connected to the function of DNA. When doing a paternity test, however, scientists don't use the type of DNA that codes proteins for specific functions or physical attributes. Genes that are examined for a paternity test come from so-called junk DNA, which only has that unsavory name because scientists still aren't exactly sure what its purpose is.

DNA FACT #4: Looks alone are never proof of paternity

We get a lot of questions from customers who insist that their child looks just like an alleged father (he has his blue eyes, or she has his facial shape), and so they can't understand why a paternity test would show that the possible father and the child are not biologically related. Conversely, we also get questioned on how a child could be biologically related to a possible father when they look nothing alike.
  • A child gets 50% of their DNA from each parent.
  • The traits of a child are determined not only by what their parents look like, but all the genomes from direct ancestors who came before, on both sides of the family.
  • This genetic soup either can create a child that looks exactly like one or more parents, or a child that looks like neither, or something in between.
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