How To Read Your Paternity DNA Test Results

There is no doubt that a paternity DNA test can be tremendously useful, especially for those who have reason to believe that they are not the biological father of their child. In these cases, there may be many years of private speculation and questions as to the true identity of the baby’s father. It may also be that you are looking for legal confirmation of your right to be a father, though not necessarily knowing that you are the biological father. Finally, there may be a situation in which you have doubts about your son or daughter’s paternity and wish to test with another man in order to see if there is truly a possibility that they are the father.

No matter what reason has brought you to this point, it is very likely that you are anxious to see the results of your paternity test. However, if you have never had one before, or don’t know quite what to expect from a lab report, then this article can help you understand exactly how your test results are presented and can guide you through reading them without any confusion.

You should be aware that paternity DNA test results can vary from lab to lab, and no two are exactly alike. This mostly occurs because each company has its own standards for what constitutes a positive result. Nevertheless, there are some similarities that you can expect between tests, the most important being how your information is presented on the page—that is, whether it is in a table or a bar graph.

In many cases, the results will be presented in what might be called a “dot plot,” which means that the samples are arranged from top to bottom with each individual sample next to one another and separated by a line. This allows you to compare bodily samples using only two dimensions rather than three. You can see at a glance which DNA markers the child and man being tested have in common, or where their similarities might diverge depending on which markers are different for each.

Furthermore, reports are often organized with the mother’s results listed first so that you can compare her to both your samples and those of any other people who are being tested, including their children. This is important because the results of a paternity DNA test can be very sensitive, and you will want to be sure that everyone’s identity is protected, especially your own.

More importantly, you should know what type of markers are used in most paternity DNA tests so that you can interpret the results with greater accuracy. Most labs focus on two types of markers, but some may include more than that. The first are called “autosomal markers,” and they make up the bulk of your genetic information—about 43% comes from these markers, in fact. These are used because they tend to be quite unique among all people, so even if a person doesn’t match them, it is unlikely that they are related at all.

The other type of markers are called “gender-specific”. These ones tend to be more specific, given the fact that they make up only about 3% of your genome. However, gender-specific markers can vary among populations more than autosomal markers do—that is, some populations may have these markers in common that others don’t. Because of this feature, labs usually use at least ten or twelve of them in order to be certain that they aren’t excluding any important information about your sample.

Finally, the results often include what is known as a “statistical likelihood ratio”. This can be a bit confusing at first, but you should remember that it is actually a good thing. The ratio tells you how likely the results are to be accurate, because many people think that the paternity DNA test will tell them whether or not they are related with absolute certainty.

That’s simply isn’t possible for any testing method, however. Instead, the paternity DNA test can only tell you how likely it is that you are related. This ratio, which usually ranges from a low of 1 to several hundred million, helps put the results in perspective for you and make them more understandable.

In general, if the chance that the man being tested is your child’s father is less than 99%, then you can say with virtual certainty that he is not. This is mostly because the paternity DNA test is so accurate these days, which means that there are few false positives—which would lead you to believe that someone was your child’s father when they weren’t.

Still, it is always a good idea to take the results with a grain of salt and be wary when interpreting them. As long as you are careful and follow the advice in this article, you should fare just fine.

How to know if the paternity DNA test is positive?

This is the most important and trickiest part. Remember that there are two types of markers in a paternity DNA test: autosomal, which are about 50% of your genetic information, and gender-specific markers, which make up about 3%. While the former is found among almost everyone on earth because it follows matrilineal and patrilineal lines, the latter can vary among populations more than autosomal markers do.

To know if the paternity DNA test is positive, you must look at both types of markers and see if they both match between the child being tested and the man being tested. If they don’t match exactly, then it means that one or both of them is not biologically related to the child. However, you must also consider the statistical likelihood ratio because there are few false positives in paternity DNA testing. If it is extremely low, then there is a high chance that the man being tested is not your child’s father.