This series of articles discusses how DNA evidence is used in legal proceedings and provides you a peek behind the scenes into the business of DNA paternity testing and the legal system in order to assist you in selecting the best test for your needs. We begin with some facts that may surprise you:

  • Home and Legal are marketing terms created by businessmen not scientists.
  • In modern labs, the very same equipment and forensic scientists will process your DNA regardless of how you intend to use the results or where you collected the DNA specimens. It is the documentation of the DNA collection process  and the wording of the lab report that differs.
  • The minimum accuracy of DNA tests performed at a lab is controlled by certification agencies such as the AABB and ISO. This minimum meets the rules of evidence for most jurisdictions. Labs are of course free to attempt to up-sell you extended analysis at a higher price.
  • We use the term “Informational” rather than “Home” because so-called Home tests can obviously be conducted at places other than your home. The industry calls these Personal Knowledge tests or PK for short. They refer to Legal tests as Chain which is short for Chain-of-Custody.

The testing industry began with Legal testing. This is a very big business in the USA due to their welfare-reform. They later added Home testing to expand their business base.

The big difference between Home and Legal tests are how tightly the collection of specimens is controlled, the records kept by the lab, and the wording printed on the Test Results Report. More on specimen collection in our next article.