Call our laboratory at 1-866-708-2128 — our technicians will be happy to help you with any questions that you may have or to help you initiate a file for DNA testing.

Understanding the Test

Initiating a DNA Test is Fast & Simple

The list below provides in depth information regarding the paternity testing procedure.

Private Testing Procedure – Step-by-Step

If you are uncertain about paternity and need to know the truth so that you can determine what step to take next, the private paternity test is recommended. The private paternity DNA test that we offer is just as accurate as our legal test. The only difference is that with the private test, you collect the samples discreetly using the kit that we provide.

  1. A DNA test can be ordered by filling out the online DNA testing order form or by calling our laboratory at 1-866-708-2128. Once the order is received, the testing kit is shipped out to you immediately.
  2. The DNA testing kit comes complete with all of the materials you need to safely collect the DNA sample from inside the mouth. The DNA testing kit contains special swabs called "buccal swabs". Buccal swabs look almost like Q-Tips, except the swab is present on only one end instead of both ends. You will receive two swabs for each individual involved in the test. Two yellow swabs are provided for the child, two blue swabs are provided for the alleged father, and if the mother is participating in the test, two pink swabs are provided for the mother (testing the mother is optional, the test is just as accurate without the mother). The sample is collected by gently rubbing the swab inside the mouth against the cheek for 10 seconds.
  3. After the sample is collected, the samples are placed into the return packaging that is provided with your testing kit and the samples are returned to our laboratory for testing. Once our laboratory receives your samples, testing begins immediately. Testing takes approximately 3 to 5 business days to complete. Once the results are available, you may call our laboratory using your file number and password to obtain your results over the telephone. The written copies will follow by mail and/or Email (this is specified when you order the test).

The results of your private DNA test are absolutely conclusive. The cost for a complete private paternity test is $79. Many patients choose to go with the private test first to find out the truth quickly and quietly so that they can decide what step to take next. Our laboratory generates greater than 99.999% for inclusions and 100% for exclusions. The full genetic document is provided with your results.

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Legal Testing Procedure – Step-by-Step

If you are using your results for legal proceedings such as estate disputes or immigration, you are required to attend an appointment for fingerprinting and photography. These identification procedures are required for proper "chain-of-custody" which is mandatory for legal testing. The cost for legal DNA testing is $230 plus collection fees of approximately $50 - $125 per person. The results of the legal DNA test are exactly the same as the results for the private DNA test. The only difference is the identification and chain-of-custody step. If you proceed with legal DNA testing, you must call our laboratory at 1-866-708-2128 to start a file. Once a file is started, an appointment will be arranged for you within 7 to 10 days for an appointment for sample collection. We have over 3000 collection sites for you to choose from so you will not have to travel far to go to an appointment.

If you do not require identification (fingerprinting and photography) and chain-of-custody, you may wish to consider private DNA testing. The private DNA motherless paternity test is $79 (without mother), and DNA paternity test is $125 (with mother) and will provide you with the same results.

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How does a DNA paternity test work?

Understanding the Test

Every person has two copies of each gene. One copy comes from the mother and the other copy comes from the father. Thus, one half of the genetic material in our body is inherited directly from each of our two parents. When a DNA paternity test is performed, the DNA laboratory examines the DNA of the child to determine whether the father's contribution matches that of the alleged father. If the alleged father is the true biological father of the child, half of the child's genetics will match that of the alleged father's. The other half comes from the mother and will match the profile of the mother (testing the mother is optional). If the tested man is not the true biological father of the child, the half of the child's genetic material which comes from the father will not match the profile of the tested man. If the profile does not match, the tested man is excluded as being the true biological father of the child. When a DNA paternity test is performed, the laboratory usually examines many different genetic locations. The more genetic locations that are examined, the more powerful and accurate your test becomes.

After examining many genetic locations, a DNA lab can conclusively determine whether the tested man is indeed the true biological father of the child. At Metaphase, our paternity test report will provide you with a simple "yes" or "no" conclusion for your paternity test as well as a detailed report indicating the genetic profiles of each tested individual. A glossary of terms and results interpretation sheet is also provided with your results and is intended for individuals who would like to understand their genetic report and detail and to understand how the conclusion of the test was obtained.

Metaphase Genetics automatically tests all 16 genetic locations for every paternity test. Many laboratories test only 9 or less genetic locations and do not test all 16. 16 loci genetic tests are called "premium" tests because they offer the highest level of discrimination in the industry. Because all 16 genetic locations are tested, the probability of paternity achieved is well about the 98% or 99.0% required for court admissibility in North America.

For tests involving the mother, child, and alleged father, the 16 loci test routinely generates a probability of paternity of 99.999% or higher. For a motherless test involving the child and alleged father, the 16 loci test routinely generates a probability of paternity of 99.9% or higher.

Because Metaphase Genetics runs all 16 loci or more for every paternity test, we can offer our clients a guarantee of greater than 99.999% for a test involving the mother and greater than 99.9% for motherless testing. This level is greater than the most stringent court acceptability levels which are only 98% to 99.0%. This guarantee is for standard cases. In unique situations such as cases where the alleged fathers are relatives (e.g. brothers), or in cases where the father carries a mutation in his own DNA in the region of testing, Metaphase Genetics cannot guarantee the probability of paternity. Mutations are rare, but do occur randomly in nature. In the event that a probable mutation is detected, Metaphase Genetics will report the location of the probable mutation in your final DNA report. For motherless tests which involve a mutation, it may be helpful to test the mother if your probability of paternity is lower than 99.0%, however, additional charges may apply to have the mother tested if she was not originally involved in the test. However, in all situations, Metaphase Genetics will guarantee that all 16 genetic locations are tested to ensure the greatest level of accuracy possible in the industry to ensure peace of mind for all clients.

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How to Read a Paternity Test Report

There are two possible outcomes in a DNA paternity test:

  1. Paternity Exclusion - A paternity exclusion indicates that the tested man is not the true biological father of the child. A report which states a paternity exclusion will show a minimum of two exclusions at two different genetic loci. When a paternity exclusion is indicated, the probability of paternity is 0%.
  2. Paternity Inclusion - If the report states that the tested man is not excluded as the biological father of the tested child, a combined paternity index of greater than 1000 is indicated. A combined paternity index of greater than 100 is accepted to establish 99.0% portability of paternity. A CPI greater than 1000 indicates that the probability of paternity is greater than 99.9%.

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Understanding the Relevance of the Number of "Loci" Tested & How it Affects Test Accuracy

When a paternity test is performed, the laboratory examines a number of different genetic locations (called "loci"). The more locations that are examined, the more powerful and accurate your test becomes. Currently, for high quality paternity tests, at least 16 genetic locations are examined in order to provide you with conclusive results.

The chart below lists all 16 loci which are tested:

Locus CODIS LOCI Chromosome
D8S1179 yes 8
D8S1179 yes 8
D21S11 yes 21q11.2-q21
D7S820 yes 7q11.21-22
CSF1P0 yes 5q33.3-34
D3S1358 yes 3p
TH01 yes 11p15.5
D13S317 yes 13q22-31
D16S539 yes 16q24-qter
D2S1338 no 2q35-37.1
D19S433 no 19q12-13.1
VWA yes 12p12-pter
TPOX yes 2p23-2per
D18S51 yes 18q21.3
D5S818 yes 5q21-31
FGA yes 4q28
AMELOGENIN no X: P22.1-22.3
Y: p11.2

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What are the CODIS loci?

CODIS stands for Combined DNA Index System. The CODIS loci are the loci which are approved by the FBI and other recognized standardization bodies worldwide for databasing and genetic profiling. At Metaphase, 13 out of the 16 loci which we test are CODIS loci. As such, the profile obtained from each test far exceeds the current recognized standards.

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What happens to your sample once it reaches our lab (technical details)?

After your sample reaches our laboratory, DNA testing begins immediately on the same day that the samples are received. The DNA test usually takes approximately 3 to 5 working days to complete. The testing process can be divided into 4 major stages.

Stage 1: DNA isolation, quantitation, and purification

During this stage, the laboratory isolates the buccal cells from the head of the swabs. After removing the cells from the swabs, the DNA is extracted from the cells. The DNA is quantitated to determine how much DNA is present and the DNA is further concentrated and purified if required.

Stage 2: PCR amplification

During this stage, the laboratory amplifies specific regions of your DNA for further examination. The DNA is amplified by a process known as PCR (stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction). PCR is is very powerful technique which can amplify a single strand of DNA over a million fold in very little time. PCR is a very sensitive technique and is frequently used in forensic laboratories to analyze blood stains, hair, and saliva stains.

Stage 3: Sequencing

Sequencing allows the laboratory to examine the DNA once it has been amplified by PCR. There are different methods available to detect the amplified DNA. In smaller laboratories, sequencing is often performed manually and is prone to human error. In larger laboratories, sequencing is fully automated. Automated sequencing is fast and very precise. At Metaphase, sequencing is performed using the latest and most advanced automated sequencers to ensure the most accurate results possible. During sequencing, the DNA fragments are passed through a matrix and detected by lasers. The detected fragments and their properties are then output to a computer for analysis.

Stage 4: Analysis

The final step of the testing process is the analysis of the genetic information. Each and every gene that was examined is fully documented in your final report. If the alleged father is not the true biological father of the child, the alleged father's DNA will not match the half of the child's genetic material which came from the father. If the test man is indeed the true biological father of the child, the paternal half of the genetic material of the child will match that of the alleged father's perfectly. Depending on the race of the tested individuals, a paternity index is generated to determine probability of paternity. We examine 16 genetic locations for each individual and we guarantee absolutely conclusive results for every test. All exclusions are 100% and inclusions generally exceed 99.9%. You will never walk away with an inconclusive answer.

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