A New Level of DNA Testing for Legal Cases

David Nicholson

Director, DNA Worldwide Group www.dna-worldwide.com 01373 800130

DNA Testing has become an absolute requirement to support cases of unproven relationships in the legal arena. Whilst its use has continued to expand over the past 10 years few people are aware of the new advances in DNA Testing that allow for a far greater accuracy of result even in extended family relationships.

In simple terms DNA Testing works by generating a DNA profile (a set of numbers from various points on the DNA called Markers/loci) for each person looking to establish a relationship. These numbers are compared using computer software to determine the likelihood of the relationship in question. For Paternity Testing with mother, father and child testing 16 areas of the DNA can provide either a 100% exclusion of relationship or a 99.9999% inclusion of relationship.

However what happens when you only have one parent, or no parents at all? DNA Worldwide are seeing an increasing number of cases where extended family relationships are tested such as sibling, grandparents, aunt/uncles and even cousins.

It’s at this point that many clients end up in problems; simply put when trying to establish such a complex case with only 16 areas of the DNA being tested 1 in 5 cases (20%) are reported back by the Laboratory as “inconclusive”.

The team at DNA Worldwide were not satisfied with this statistic and therefore developed a test that looks at up to 44 areas of the DNA, including YDNA and mtDNA all within the same cost structure. This means complex cases now receive a 99% chance of a conclusive result.

The above test works really well for the majority of situations, however when trying to establish 2nd or 3rd cousins even 44 areas of the DNA is not enough. In 2011 a test was launched that looks at 720,000 areas of the DNA, this is much like the whole genome testing you hear about in the news. A client of DNA Worldwide successfully used the test in the UK Courts to prove a 2nd cousin relationship.

In very simple terms the test works by comparing blocks of DNA that are found in the individuals DNA profiles, the longer the block of DNA found in common the closer related the individuals are. Of course it takes a very sophisticated computer to that runs millions of potential relationship possibilities to determine the exact relationship between the individuals.

What is exciting about these new developments is that no longer will individuals be restricted to establishing relationships across 2 generations. And for those individuals who up until today have not been able to establish close relationships the advanced testing now available means many can.

Standard Relationships that can be proven with a 44 Area/Marker DNA Test;

- Sibling Testing – to determine if two individuals share one or both parents in common.

- Aunt/ Uncle Testing – to determine if an Aunt or Uncle is biologically related to their Niece or Nephew.

- Grandparent Testing – to establish if a child is biologically related to one or both grandparents from either the mother of fathers side of the family.

- 1st Cousin Testing – to establish if two individuals are related via a 1st cousin relationship. It is important to test other closely related family members even when testing 44 Areas of the DNA.

Extended Relationships that can be proven with a 720,000 Area DNA Test;

- 1st Cousin Testing – to establish if two individuals are related via a 1st cousin relationship. If only two individuals are available this test can be used instead of a 44 Area DNA test.

- 2nd to 4th Cousin Testing – to establish if two individuals are related via a 2nd, 3rd or 4th Cousin Relationship.

- 5th Cousin Testing – the 720,000 Area test has the potential to establish 5th cousins however it only has a 10% success rate in doing so, therefore it is not advised as a reliable option.

About DNA Worldwide

DNA Worldwide Group is a leading UK company providing simple, clear and accurate DNA, Hair Drug & Alcohol Testing. The ethos of the company is to keep everything as simple as possible for the client. Dedicated DNA Worldwide team members manage the entire case process from point of instruction by Solicitor, Social Worker or Private client through to organizing sample collection appointments and issuing results. More details can be found by visiting www.dna-worldwide.com, by calling 01373 800130 or by sending an email to legal@dna-worldwide.com.



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