updated 3 Nov 2012, 11:06
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Tue, Oct 30, 2012
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DNA samples sent to US
by Benson Ang

DNA is passed down from parents to children and can be found throughout the body. Common samples of DNA are blood, bone and skin cells. For testing purposes, they are typically taken from inside the mouth. Here’s how Paternity Testing Corporation (PTC) conducts a DNA test:

Step 1

Clients are finger-printed, photographed and their mouths are swabbed. The samples are sent to a lab in the US for processing.

Step 2

A paternity test works by identifying certain specific size pieces of DNA that the child received from his or her biological father. If the man has the same size pieces as the child, he is likely to be the biological father.

Unrelated individuals are unlikely to have the same specific size pieces. PTC guarantees that its normal DNA paternity tests have an accuracy of higher than 99.99 per cent.

Step 3

Once samples reach the lab, results are ready within two business days. But clients typically wait 10 days due to shipping and the number of cases that have to be handled.


Many TV programmes show characters getting DNA samples from a wide range of sources.

Fact: Fingernails, toenails, toothbrushes, drinking straws, cigarette butts, coffee cup lids and used tissue paper can be used to obtain samples for DNA testing, as they can contain skin cells. Semen can also be used.

Fiction: Hair does not contain enough skin cells, and it is only useful in checking to see if the child is part of the mother’s family. It cannot even determine if the woman is the child’s mother.

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