Monday, February 18, 2013

Legal DNA Testing

Brought to you by our friends at AlphaBiolabs

Established in August 2004, AlphaBiolabs is an accredited DNA Paternity, Drug and Alcohol Testing Laboratory.

Their brand values centre around providing cost effective Legal DNA tests to whoever requires it. Our clients include a range of Civil Courts, Law Firms, Councils and Members of the Public throughout the UK

They are the only laboratory in the UK that is accredited for DNA Paternity Testing and Drugs of Abuse in hair testing, giving you the peace of mind that you deserve. Utilising the latest technology in their laboratory, they ensure accuracy, reliability and integrity for each and every case, supported by their confidential customer services department and overseen by their highly trained technical staff.

DNA, Drug and Alcohol testing. Who do you trust?
“The results we issue change lives. We understand the importance of the role we play and the effect we have. That’s why we’re committed to delivering results you and your clients can rely on completely.” said an AlphaBioLabs spokesperson.

AlphaBiolabs is independently accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to perform DNA and drug testing to the ISO17025 standard and is also on the Ministry of Justice list of approved DNA testing laboratories.

Confidentiality and Care
“Everyone working for AlphaBiolabs has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

We have a training programme to teach staff the importance of maintaining confidentiality, safeguarding information and ensuring they manage personal data legally, securely and efficiently. Plus we never use or pass on any personal information and only provide results to those involved in the testing process and their legal representatives.”

AlphaBiolabs currently perform around 2500 DNA paternity tests per year from a wide range of people each with their own reasons for needing a test. With this high volume of tests being performed there are often questions raised by both the instructing parties and the participants of the test.

One of the commonest is "I know I am the mum so why are you testing me?" It is not uncommon for us to test to determine maternity but in the majority of cases it is the paternity that is in doubt so why do labs require the mother's sample?  The Human Genetics Commission and the Department of Health both recommend that the mother should be at least aware of the test if not directly involved and it is viewed that motherless testing could be "harmful to the child, as well as the family unit as a whole".  All reputable labs would strongly recommend the inclusion of the mother's sample for this reason alone; however there are also scientific reasons to include the mother in a test.

Half of a child's DNA comes from the mother and the other half from the father. A DNA test determines whether or not a tested man could have passed on his DNA to the child. When the mother is included it is possible to identify which of the child's DNA comes from her, leaving the paternal DNA to compare against the alleged father. DNA test reports usually include two values, the Combined Paternity Index (CPI) which provides an odds ratio of how much more likely it is that the tested man is the father rather than an untested man and the Probability of Paternity which reflects the probability that the tested hypothesis is correct.  These values can be calculated with or without the inclusion the mother's sample but provides much greater certainty when the mother is tested. For example, a test that we recently completed with the mother gave a CPI of 56,836,601 and a Probability of Paternity of 99.99999% indicating it is 56,836,601 times more likely that the tested man was the father than another man; removing the mother from this test would have reduced this to around 10,000, more than 5,500 times lower. In some cases this reduction could be even greater and reduce the CPI and probability so much that the test is no longer conclusive or as definite as it could have been, in which case it may be that the mother's sample would be required anyway, leading to more paperwork and delays to the result.

In some circumstances the mother's sample cannot be provided or the delay to a case because of an evasive sample donor can mean that motherless testing is unavoidable, but when the cost of a DNA test includes the mother's sample it really is in the best interest of the test results to include her in the process.

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