We continuously receive inquiries from customers questioning if it’s possible for one participant of paternity testing to switch samples, either with themselves or someone else, or if they could have changed the DNA somehow by eating before collecting DNA.
A paternity test can take an emotional toll on some. So let’s address this question one scenario at a time.
Mom submits her DNA as the alleged fathers sample for Paternity Testing
One question we encountered recently was a concerned alleged father who thought maybe the mother of the child could have swabbed herself in his place to force the results to show not excluded, meaning he is considered to be the biological father. In all paternity testing cases our laboratory also includes the amelogenin gene to verify the sex of all participants. This helps to verify the alleged father being tested is male and the mother is female. We can also verify the sex of the child. This means mom could not swab herself and submit her sample as the alleged father without our laboratory experts discovering that. If this does occur we would place the paternity test on hold and contact the participants to ask them to re-swab the correct participants. Another sign that the mother swabbed in the alleged fathers place would be the mother and father would show as identical DNA, which is not possible. This would also be a red flag and cause the paternity testing to come to a stop.
Alleged Father Switches his sample with someone else for a Paternity Test
Another question I often get asked is whether the alleged father could have switched his own samples with someone else. If you purchase the home DNA collection kit for paternity testing purposes, the results you receive are not court admissible. This is because the laboratory can not verify whose sample they have actually received. If the participants do not collect the samples together and mail them off together, there is always a risk that someone could switch their samples with someone else. If you are in a situation where you doubt the reliability of the other person to be honest about submitting their own sample, we always recommend a legal paternity test collection. This is where all participants go to a third party collection facility to have their DNA collected by a third party. The collector will verify ID and take photos of each participant. The collector then sends the samples to the lab for testing to establish a chain-of-custody to verify samples could not have been tampered with.
Eating or Drinking before DNA collection in Paternity Testing
One last situation I want to discuss is the question of whether someone can alter their DNA by eating or drinking something before they swab their mouth. The answer is no. You can not alter your DNA with putting anything in your mouth. If you have had a bone marrow transplant recently, that may come into account. Anything like that should be discussed with the facility doing the paternity testing.
We do ask that you don’t eat or drink anything for about an hour before collecting the DNA samples, and this is to keep food or anything else off the swabs. Eating or drinking before the collection can cause remnants to get on the swab with the DNA. The worst this will do is create a situation where we can’t get a profile at all. If a profile is obtained, then the food or drink did nothing. If we can’t get a profile we need to recollect samples for the participant for re-testing. The first recollection is always at no charge to the customer here at IDENTIGENE.
Do you have situations that you question? Let us know! 1-888-404- GENE.