Dna testing and the whole process that goes with it can be confusing for anyone, particularly if you’re never experienced the process before

DNA testing and the whole process that goes with it can be confusing for anyone, particularly if you’re never experienced the process before. It is packed full of complicated scientific jargon that makes very little sense to most people and requires an knowledge of genetics to even remotely comprehend. Luckily, we’ve compiled this basic list of DNA testing definitions to help keep you on track throughout it all:

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the acid within each and every one of our cells detailing everything about the way in which our bodies will function and appear. Think of DNA as the plans to your body – the blueprint to how you’re going to work. Inherited in equal measure from both the mother and the father, no two persons’ DNA is alike, making it ideal for identifying criminals from crime scene DNA evidence and for determining paternity in contentious situations.

Avuncular Test: The testing of the alleged father’s relatives alongside the sample from the child in question in determining paternity. This can be used where the father is not present or not available to give a sample for DNA testing, and can help determine (albeit with lesser accuracy) whether or not particular samples are genetically related. It is nevertheless desirable to conduct all DNA testing with the father having previously been sampled to ensure more accurate results.

Paternity Test: The most common form of DNA testing, paternity testing, establishes whether or not an alleged father does indeed share a genetic relationship with the child in question. By matching up the DNA of the mother, the father and the child in question it is possible to identify parentage by looking for a 50/50 split in genetic material from both parents.

Oral Swab: The most effective and easiest way of collecting a DNA sample. Achieved by simply scraping the swab against the inside of the cheek in order to glean genetic material from the cells of the cheeks, before being sealed and sent off to the lab for testing at which point it can be matched with additional samples from the other parties involved. Oral swabs are preferred to other samples because they are comparatively easier to read and compare.

Chromosome: The location of the genetic material (that is to say, the DNA) within each cell, in which there are 23 pairs of chromosomes in total. The male chromosomal partnership is identified as X and Y, whereas females do not possess this distinct Y chromosome. Therefore it is possible to test male relationships of a genetic nature through the Y chromosome which in itself very infrequently mutates as it is passed between father and son.

DNA Testing: The overall process by which DNA samples are compared in order to identify a particular individual in criminal, medical or legal circumstances, or purely out of curiosity. DNA testing can be used to determine paternity, or place a crime suspect at the murder scene, and has been proven to be highly effective in boosting conviction rates for serious criminal offences.

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