Can Someone Cheat a DNA Test?

Cheating in a Paternity Test
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Can You Cheat a DNA Paternity Test?

These days DNA Paternity testing is the most used method of confirming the biological relationship between a child and an alleged parent. At present, there are two types of DNA paternity test you can perform.

There is the Court Admissible or legal Paternity Test whereby the collection of the samples is performed through a controlled chain-of-custody procedure with a third party to act as a witness and verify the authenticity of the samples. Then there is also the ‘At-Home or Peace of mind’ DNA test whereby a DNA testing kit will be sent to you and you will be responsible for collecting your own samples.

Due to how the samples are collected the legal test provides an almost cheat-proof system if the DNA samples are taken by a qualified medical professional such as a nurse or doctor. However for the home DNA test, since the parties are responsible for collecting their own samples, this gives rise to the opportunity to cheat on the test. This can be done by the alleged parent submitting a third party DNA sample which will lead to a negative result.

They also may try to contaminate the test swabs which will result in the need to retake the test.

When the father, mother and child participate in the paternity test, a properly accredited and experienced DNA testing laboratory such as AlphaBiolabs will provide a probability of paternity in excess of 99.999% thereby confirming the biological relationship, or alternatively issue a probability of paternity of 0%, thereby confirming with 100% accuracy the exclusion of the alleged father.

AlphaBiolabs cannot know if the samples submitted are from the correct person(s) and a level of trust is needed from the individual who is submitting the test. We clearly state that the samples have not been verified and hence the report cannot be used in a court of law.

What should I do if I think my partner will cheat on the DNA Test?

If you are suspicious that your partner might cheat on the test you have the following options:

  • Perform the swabbing procedure in the presence of all parties and make sure to seal and send the samples yourself to the laboratory.
  • Make sure that you use recorded delivery to mail the samples and post them in the presence of all parties.
    If it is not possible to be present at the same time or location have the samples taken in front of a neutral third party (i.e.) (a lawyer or doctor preferable) that will act as an independent witness to the collection process.
  • If the DNA testing is not being done for legal purposes then the third party witness will not need to sign any official documents for the laboratory to issue a ‘Legal’ result. He will just guarantee peace of mind to all the parties.
  • Order a ‘Court Admissible’ legal paternity test and follow the chain of custody procedure required for the collection of the samples.
  • If the other party refuses to provide a sample under any of the above scenarios, proceed through official legal channels to ‘force’ the other party to participate in the test.

This is of course, the most expensive and time-consuming process and should be entered into as a last resort. In situations such as this, we strongly recommend obtaining legal advice.

Do Clients Often Try to Cheat?

In our experience, we very rarely see case where one party has tried to cheat the DNA test. Most people simply want to find out the truth. Also if there is a suspicion of one party trying to cheat a DNA paternity test then they will take the measures above.

In the small number of cases where one party has attempted to cheat the negative result were always challenged by the other party who eventually managed to obtain the correct sample for re-testing.

Other examples of cheating include Mothers who know that it is highly likely that the man being tested is NOT the biological Father and they will try to contaminate the child’s swab with their own DNA, as they think this will provide a negative result without the laboratory noticing. However, since the laboratory will pick up on this contamination and re-testing will be required.

In conclusion, whilst one may try to fool or cheat on a paternity test, eventually, the truth more often than not comes out either through scientific methods detecting the tampering or through the process of obtaining supervised re-sampling.

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Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

Casey Randall

Head of Genetics at AlphaBiolabs

Casey joined the AlphaBiolabs team in 2012 and heads up the DNA laboratory.

An expert in DNA analysis and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Casey holds an MSc with Distinction in DNA Profiling and a First-Class BSc with Honours in Forensic Science.

Casey is responsible for maintaining the highest quality testing standards, as well as looking for ways to further enhance the service that AlphaBiolabs provides and exploring new and innovative techniques in DNA analysis.

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