Lab Collections vs. At-Home DNA Testing

With the over-the-counter availability of at-home DNA testing kits, many individuals may think they don’t need lab-based services. While it’s true that these cheap kits may provide answers to your questions, the accuracy of results, lack of legal admissibility, and quality of the test invalidates any initial cost savings. 

Are Home DNA Tests Reliable?

Keep in mind that you are in charge with your own collections on a home DNA kit, therefore not following a chain of custody collection procedure that a court would validate as admissible in a case.  DNA testing is often used to verify biological relationships and in these cases, conducting a DNA test can be a delicate process that needs a reliable and accurate answer when lives will be affected by the outcome.  Home test kits are prone to misuse and fraud because there is no verifiable identification of tested parties or chain-of-custody of collected samples. Participants can intentionally substitute samples of one person for those of another in order to obtain the desired result. Who would know if the DNA sample really came from the intended source?  This makes the results obtained from a home paternity test kit only as trustworthy as the people who were in possession of the sample.

What is Court Admissable DNA Testing?

Courts along with other institutions will not admit DNA test results into evidence unless it can be shown to a high degree of reliability that every aspect of the testing process was administered properly following precisely documented chain of custody collection procedures.  Everything from how the sample is collected, labeling of the sample, transportation to the lab for analysis, how the sample is handled and by whom, and how every process and step is documented along the way — all these concerns must be considered before a court will permit test results as part of a case.  A home DNA testing kit will not meet this strict protocol required by the courts.

Accuracy & Reliability of Lab Based DNA Testing

Legal situations, including child support hearings, divorce proceedings, custody battles, and more, may be easily resolved with accurate and reliable DNA testing results. However, whether the court agrees the test was reliable, and therefore admissible into the case, depends if proper handling and documenting of the DNA testing specimen happened throughout the entire process.   Properly executed and documented “chain of custody” procedures that are executed in a lab testing facility is what makes the difference between DNA testing results courts will admit, and those they will not.

For more information about court admissible DNA testing procedures, locate your nearest local ARCpoint Labs.

 

 

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