How do DNA Paternity Tests Work?

DNA paternity testing is a very complicated and precise process. Thanks to advancements in modern science and increased understanding of human genetics, paternity test results can be more than 90% accurate. Because of this high level of accuracy, DNA testing is a very good way to determine if a man is the biological father of a child. Every single person has his or her own unique DNA (with the possible exception of identical twins who may have the same DNA, although studies and tests are still being done on the subject). This DNA can be used to identify any person with a high degree of certainty.

You may be wondering how it is possible to determine if a man is the biological father of a child, especially since children has their own unique set of DNA. How can that unique DNA be traced back to a biological father and mother? While it is true that each child’s DNA is unique, they still have genetic characteristics that they inherit from their mother and their father. These genetic characteristics are what make it possible to determine who the child’s father really is.  Still confused? Here is some additional information about how DNA paternity tests work.

DNA Basics

Before you can understand how a paternity test works, you must first understand the basics of DNA construction. DNA is made up of 4 different types of bases, which are identified by the following letters: A, C, G, and T. A practically endless arrangement of these numbers or bases is what makes up each person’s unique DNA sequence. When a child is born, they inherit DNA sequences from both their biological mother and their biological father. The mother contributes 23 chromosomes and the father also contributes 23 chromosomes. As a result, each child inherits a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes from each of their parents, and each pair comes with its own unique sequence of DNA bases. Testing a DNA sample and determining these sequences can confirm the child’s relationship to the mother and biological father.

When a paternity test is performed, the child’s DNA is first compared with that of the mother’s. Because half of the child’s DNA will be a match for the mother’s DNA, the other half of the child’s DNA will be a match for the biological father’s DNA. If the alleged father’s DNA doesn’t match the other half of the child’s DNA, then he cannot possibly be the child’s biological father.

What You Need for the Test

There are many DNA paternity tests that can be taken conveniently at home. According to DNA testing company, these DNA tests may be submitted with just a DNA sample from the child and the father in question, but it is highly recommended that a sample of the mother’s DNA be tested as well. This is because half of the child’s DNA will match the mother’s DNA, so it is much easier to test for paternity with the remaining 50% of the child’s DNA that isn’t a match for its mother. However, if it is not possible to submit a DNA sample from the mother, a paternity test may still be conducted but the results will not be quite as conclusive. It is important to note that a child should not submit a DNA sample unless they have consent from their legal guardian or they have reached the legal age of adulthood (age 18).

Complicated and Precise

While DNA testing is much more complicated than this and involves analyzing and testing multiple segments of DNA in order to accurately figure out paternity, the brief description mentioned above is at least enough information to give you a general idea of how the process works. If you are a man who wants to know whether or not you are the biological father of a child, or if you are a woman who wants to figure out who your child’s father is once and for all, a paternity test is a great way to find the answers you are looking for. Just remember that you must receive permission from the person whom you are trying to collect a DNA sample from, so don’t be sneaky or secretive about collecting a DNA sample from anyone.

If you are looking for a quality DNA-based paternity test, you can find some reputable laboratories online that can test your DNA samples for paternity and send you the results.


  1. This is very informative,Thanks for the info.

  2. I find it crazy that we can now take paternity tests at home. It is amazing how far we have come in regards to technology.

  3. Angela Higdon says:

    I want to do a genealogy DNA test!
    Thanks for the info.

  4. This is a really interesting post. I always wondered how they worked and now I know.

  5. DENISE SMITH says:

    i have always wanted to know how they work thanks

  6. i didn’t realize you could take them at home. thanks for the informative post!

  7. I’ve seen these tests in places like Walgreens and I think I’ve seen them at Walmart.



  9. Great information! Thanks for sharing!
    Zulema Tomlinson recently posted..Orglamix Natural Mineral Makeup Giveaway

  10. sandra davis says:

    i always wondered how that worked

  11. Very informative and interesting!

  12. thank you for the info. very interesting.

  13. Diana Scholz says:

    My ‘cousin’ had to have a paternity test after my uncle passed away. The test came out negative but her mother swears its a false negative. I wonder if the fact that he they used his DNA after he passed has anything to do with it.

  14. candy kratzer wenzel says:

    Thank you for the information. Our whole being is based on our DNA.

  15. So interesting! It’s so crazy that you can do them at home now!
    Jasmine P recently posted..MY HOLIDAY WISH LIST & GIFT SHOPPING

  16. Well i didn’t know that. But i think it work but there a lot i know that had to get it done but it was false, took it again and come out positive.

  17. A very good synopsis of the topic of DNA testing. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. alicia k (Petite Pilates Pixie) says:

    ive been wanting to try one of the dna tests.

  19. Thanks for this informative information. I’ve been thinking of doing this for years in order to see my American Indian connection. I’m going to check around and compare prices, I don’t really want the map.

  20. I knew you could do home pregnancy tests but didn’t know you could do DNA matching tests at home. Very interesting.

  21. Someone in another comment mentioned doing a genealogy dna test. That would be kind of nice to do to maybe help find long lost relatives. It IS quite amazing how we can do these things so easily now.

  22. illy junus says:

    i don’t know that you can do DNA matching test at home, very interesting post

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