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Paternity Testing

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During a paternity test, a DNA profile is generated from each sample and will ultimately help prove or disprove the paternity of a child.

The laboratory report will generally have one of three possible conclusions, which are determined from the DNA results and a series of complex statistical calculations. Following is a statement of the most common conclusions along with a simple explanation of its meaning.

  1. The results indicate that the alleged father is not the biological father of the child. This conclusion is based on the absence of two or more obligate paternal alleles in the alleged father, as indicated by a Paternity Index of 0.
    • This means that the tested man is not the father.

  2. The results indicate that the alleged father can not be excluded as the biological father of the child. The reported probability of paternity, as compared to an unrelated, untested man of the same race, is calculated assuming a prior probability of 0.5.
    • This means that the tested man is the father. While the formal report language might seem awkward and ambiguous, it is a necessity founded in statistics. Because the entire human population was not tested you cannot say ?you are the father? because that implies 100% probability.

  3. The statistical results derived from the genetic tests fall within the inconclusive range for paternity. Inclusion of the mother will likely be sufficient to yield a conclusive result.
    • This means that additional testing is necessary to determine if the tested man is the father or not the father. This result occasionally occurs when the mother is not included in the analysis.
Paternity Index
Paternity index is a likelihood ratio between the chances that the alleged father may pass the paternal gene, compared to the chance that a random man may pass the paternal gene to the child. If the paternity index is zero, it is because the father does not have any matching alleles with the child at that particular marker. If the paternity index is greater than zero it means the father does have a matching allele with the child.

Combined Paternity Index (CPI)
The combined paternity index is the product of all of the individual paternity index values multiplied together and is a measure of the strength of the genetic evidence. The CPI can range from 0 to infinity. When the combined paternity index is 0, it means the alleged father is not the dad. When the combined paternity index is greater than 100 it means the alleged father is the dad, however it cannot be stated simply as “you are the father”. Because the probability of paternity can never be 100% (you will often `see 99.999%), you cannot say “you are the father” because that implies 100% certainty. Therefore, the results are reported as “the alleged father can not be excluded as the biological father of the child”. When the combined paternity index is greater than 0, but less than 100, the results are inconclusive. Inconclusive results are most often the cause of doing a paternity test without the mother. In most instances, inclusion of the mother’s genetic profile into the statistical calculations results in a conclusive result.

Interpretation of Results
We routinely report testing results with a probability of paternity of 99.99% or higher on inclusions and 0.00% on exclusions. If the alleged father and child do not share all of the required markers, then the alleged father is not the father of the child. This is called an "EXCLUSION" and the probability of paternity will be 0.00%. If the child and alleged father share the required markers, then the alleged father cannot be excluded as the biological father and a probability of paternity will be calculated. The minimum probability of paternity in an inclusion will be 99.99% or greater. A DNA paternity report can never provide a 100% probability of paternity because that would require comparing the DNA of the tested man to every other man on this earth, and that is not possible.

The two diagrams below provide examples of both a Inclusion and an Exclusion.

EXAMPLE OF INCLUSION RESULT
System Mother Child Alleged Father Paternity Index
D3S1358 14 , 18 14, 15 15 , 16 4.03
vWA 14 , 17 14 , 17 14 , 17 2.72
FGA 18 , 24 18 , 22 22 , 24 2.81
D8S1179
13 13 , 14
11 , 14
1.49
D21S11 31.2 , 33.2 30 , 31.2 30 3.88
D18S51 14 14 14 , 17 2.94
D16S539 9 , 12 9 , 11 11 , 12 1.57
TH01 7 , 9.3 7 , 9.3 7 , 9.3 1.41
D2S1338 19 , 24 19 , 24 19 , 23 1.89
D19S433
13 , 14 14 , 17.2 13 , 17.2 39.00
         
  1. Identify the two alleles (numbers) for the child at each system. (e.g. the child has a 14, 15 at system D3S1358)
  2. Determine which of the child’s alleles came from the mother. (e.g. at system D3S1358, the mother (14,18) gives the child (14,15) a 14)
  3. Therefore the alleged father must provide the child with the other allele, a 15. (e.g. at system D3S1358, the alleged father (15,16) provides the child (14,15) with the 15)
  4. This matching between the child and alleged father at system D3S1358 is an example of an inclusion.
  5. Once the alleles are analyzed for all systems, population statistics are then calculated based upon the paternal alleles provided to the child. The result is a Paternity Index for each system.
  6. The final calculation involves the multiplication of each Paternity Index with the others to come up with a Combined Paternity Index value. For example, the Paternity Index of system D3S1358 is 4.03 and the Combined Paternity Index for the overall results is 85,426 to 1.



EXAMPLE OF EXCLUSION RESULT
System Mother Child Alleged Father Paternity Index
D3S1358 14, 18 14, 15 17 , 18 0.00
vWA 14 , 17 14 , 17 14 , 20 2.72
FGA 18 , 24 18 , 22 23 , 25 0.00
D8S1179 13 13 , 14 8 , 14 1.49
D21S11 31.2 , 33.2 30 , 31.2 30 , 35 3.88
D18S51 14 14 15 , 18 0.00
D16S539 9 , 12 9 , 11 11 , 15 1.57
TH01 7 , 9.3 7 , 9.3 6 , 9.3 1.41
D2S1338 19 , 24 19 , 24 19 , 20 1.89
D19S433 13 , 14 14 , 17.2 15 , 16 0.00
         
  1. Identify the two alleles (numbers) for the child. (e.g. the child has a 14, 15 at system D3S1358)
  2. Determine which of the child’s alleles came from the mother. (e.g. at system D3S1358, the mother (14,18) gives the child (14,15) a 14)
  3. Therefore the biological father must provide the child with the other allele, a 15. However the tested alleged father is a 17,18 and could not have provided the child with a 15.
  4. This mis-match between the child and alleged father at system D3S1358 is an example of an exclusion and the paternity index is 0.00 for this system.
  5. If the child and alleged father do match, population statistics are used to derive a paternity index for that system.
  6. When the statistical calculations are applied to the all of the paternity index results in the above case, the Combined Paternity Index is 0.00 and therefore there is a 0% probability of paternity.


 
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