Legal Paternity Testing When an Alleged Father is Deceased . . .

5th May 2010

paternity-express-sad-child2It is becoming more and more import to have a father sign and document that a child is truly his biological child while he is alive and able to speak and act for himself.  Tragedy doesn’t give us warnings when it is about to strike, and many mothers, especially single mothers, are caught in a situation where legal paternity of a child was not established (i.e., the father of their child did not have his name put on their child’s birth certificate thus publicly declaring that he fathered their child) and he dies suddenly.  They are rudely awakened when they find out how important it is when they visit their local Social Security Office and are told that their child “is not” the deceased person’s child and they do not have proof to say otherwise.  Although they know it for sure; they must prove it to the authorities.  Because they really do not have any proof . . . even when members of the deceased man’s family may provide them affidavits that the deceased acknowledged to them that he fathered the child; they must provide some material proof such as a DNA paternity test which provides indisputable proof, provided the DNA test was done following the strict “chain of custody” method.  If you ever find yourself in this situation . . .

 

Don’t panic, paternity testing may still be performed if the mother wishes and is willing to do a few things to help her situation.  If the deceased person died suddenly or as a result of a crime, an accident, suicide, or long illness or if he died in a hospital, it is likely that an autopsy was performed.  A blood card or other suitable forensic specimen may be obtained from the hospital, or medical examiner / coroner who performed an autopsy on the deceased.  The hospital, coroner, or medical examiner can provide the necessary chain-of-custody documentation by completing and signing a few documents which attests to the collection of and the unbroken chain of custody of samples being turned over to a lab for DNA testing; most testing labs will even provide these forms.  Of course, the mother and the next of kin of the deceased would need to complete a few documents requesting the hospital, coroner / medical examiner turn over a “blood card” or qualifying “forensic sample” from which a DNA profile of the alleged father may be taken for comparison with the child.  They also must sign documents giving the testing lab the authority to do the DNA paternity test between the deceased samples and the child in question.  The child’s DNA samples also must be collected using the strict chain-of-custody method in order for the lab to issue a “legal” paternity report which may be presented to Social Security and also is admissible in court.

 

Even when the family refuses to give permission for the mother to get a sample of the deceased’s DNA for testing, the mother can turn to the courts and ask for an order to secure the release of the deceased’s DNA for paternity testing.  Of course she would need to tell the court the purpose for her request and provide proof such as the Social Security documentation which would clearly show that there was a need to prove that the deceased was the biological father of the child presented to Social Security to obtain benefits.

 

There are other tests which include but are not limited to  family reconstruction, avuncular, and Grandparentage which may provide proof of a child’s paternity, however, nothing beats the alleged father’s direct participation . . . even when it is done post mortem.

Secret DNA Testing Can NOT Be Legal

1st April 2010

paternity-express-secret-dna3

When an alleged father refuses to cooperate in Paternity DNA testing, or the child in question is older, and you don’t want them to know that their paternity is in question, a Secret DNA test can help.  However, the secret DNA test can not be legal, i.e., the results of any such testing cannot be used in a court of law or for any formal government purposes such as child support, social security claims, immigration, etc.  The secret DNA testing is equivalent to the peace-of-mind or home DNA test where participants simply need to know for personal knowledge and do not need a document for court; they may or may not collect the samples themselves and / or had access to the collected samples; instead they simply obtain an article / item used by the person or persons they want to test.  It is exactly what the name implies . . . secret . . . expressly for the knowledge of the person requesting the test.  There are three scenarios in which the secret DNA testing may be employed:

First Scenario:  An item from the alleged father, is obtained in secret and this item is tested for DNA. A control swab is also submitted for the child.

Second Scenario:  An item used by the child is obtained in secret and this item is submitted for DNA testing. A control swab is also submitted for the father.

Third Scenario:   A secret item is submitted for both the child and the alleged father.

There are many types of articles / items which may be submitted for DNA testing and profiling, however, the lab can never guarantee whether or not the article / item submitted will have sufficient DNA to create a profile and must do an initial scan.  If you ask, most labs will do what is known as a preliminary scan of the article and inform you whether or not they found enough DNA to create a profile before moving to comparison with the control sample.  It is always better to let the lab know at the time of submitting the case whether you want to be informed about the “article / item” profile before they move on to comparing with the control sample.  If sufficient DNA is not found on the article / item submitted, then there is no need to proceed on to comparison with a control sample.  Also, you can save a few dollars by doing it this way, however, time is lost, i.e. if you need to have results back speedily then the lab will have to wait until you contact them in order to give them permission to proceed to the second stage: comparison of the two profiles.  You decide which is best for your situation, and how you wish to proceed or not proceed.

To find out what articles / items can be submitted for testing, simply call the lab.  They will provide you with a full listing of what articles / items may be submitted for DNA testing as well as let you know what the cost of the initial scan of a submitted article / item would be.

DNA Testing Solves Thousand-Year-Old King Tut Parentage Mystery

15th March 2010

paternity-express-forensic-testing1Did you know that DNA testing can solve the mystery of a person’s parentage as well as tell the maternal lineage and the paternal lineage? A few years ago, scientists solved the mystery of King Tut’s parentage using a series of DNA tests.  DNA was taken from several different mummies including Tutankhamen; only three of the mummies were known for certain.  DNA samples were taken from five of the royal mummies dating back to the 1550-1479 B.C. Yes, before Christ!  Through a series of reconstructive DNA testing we now know who King Tut’s maternal lineage, as well as his paternal lineage, and is now able to identify Tiye, mother of the Pharoh Akhenaten and grandmother of King Tut.  It is amazing that after thousands of years, DNA could be taken from deceased, embalmed, mummies that were thousands of years old and used to establish biological relationships as was the case of King Tut.

 

If DNA can be taken from samples thousands of years old, think what it can do in cases where a person is alive or recently deceased.  Even when you think your situation is hopeless, it might very well not be there’s always Forensic DNA Testing.  DNA samples are quite often saved in the form of blood cards, forensic tissue, etc., by many medical examiners.  A simple request made by a deceased’s next of kin to the medical examiner’s office will get forensic samples from their loved ones released to our labs; and with the collection of a controlled sample (the child, other relative, another deceased, etc.) used to establish the biological relationship.  Results from these testing may be used for many different purposes such as Social Security benefits, child support, immigration, etc., among other reasons. 

 

Establishing  paternity, maternity, or some other biological relationship has become quite commonplace.  A simple telephone call to make the request and schedule an appointment, and a few days later and you will have your questions answered conclusively.  Our labs test twice for accuracy; and can tell decisively whether an alleged father is included usually to the degree of 99.99% or excluded 100%.  So, don’t worry, get tested!

Genetic Reconstruction DNA Test Can Aid in Disasters

7th February 2010

paternity-express-genetic-reconstructionAfter every major disaster, it will need to be proven or disproven which persons died and or whether children who cannot speak for themselves and are being claimed by adults are really biologically related to  that adult.  One of the ways the people in charge can make certain that they are turning over a minor child to a biological relative would be to conduct a DNA test.  There are many DNA tests which can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt whether a biological relationship between claiming parties truly exists.  

 

How can this be done? Well several ways, including but not limited to Genetic Reconstruction, under which the following testing fall: Paternity DNA testing, Maternity DNA testing, Avuncular DNA testing (using an uncle or aunt) , Siblingship (using known or proven brother or sister), Grandparentage DNA testing (using one or both grandparents). Forensic DNA testing may also be employed to determine whether a deceased person was a child’s actual parent and / or whether a surviving child is truly an orphan or related to a living person who is trying to claim that child.  Recently the earthquake in Haiti has left thousands of children orphans, however, among these children there may be ones who may have a surviving relative, or several surviving relatives.  One can almost be sure that the authorities will rely on DNA testing to prove biological relationships for the smallest ones who cannot speak for themselves to identify their relatives who are trying to claim them. Also, it is almost certain that the government may resort to DNA testing to identify deceased persons.  It is amazing just what a DNA test can reveal!  Genetic reconstruction uses a series of testing to determine whether a child is related to an alleged father’s close relatives. It is an alternate way to determine if a biological relationship exists among the tested parties.  Each person’s DNA profile is unique, but close relatives will share a significant portion of their DNA profiles because of the hereditary nature of DNA.

 

All that aside, results of genetic reconstruction may also be used as proof in getting Social Security benefit or matters of inheritance claims

DNA Testing Can Prove Infidelity

5th January 2010

paternity-express-infidelity31Many divorces in the U.S. are the direct results of sexual infidelity by one or both people in a relationship.  The frequency of marital infidelity vary widely, but experts estimates that some 60 percent of husbands and nearly 40 percent of wives have been unfaithful at some point during their marriage.  No one sex has a monopoly on infidelity!

 

Although stains on female undergarments could be attributable to urine, urinary tract infection, blood, feces or natural vaginal excretions related to menstrual cycle, ovulation, or vaginal infection; some stains on female undergarments could possibly indicate sexual infidelity.  Semen can be deposited on undergarments, panties, bed sheets, clothing upholstered furniture or other surfaces.  For up to 5 days after the sexual act, sperm cells can live in the vagina.  Whether on male undergarment or female undergarment, forensic analysis of suspicious stains would be necessary to determine the origin of suspicious stains.

 

A Forensic lab would need to analyze any suspicious stains in two stages: screening and DNA analysis.  A Forensic Analyst screens the suspicious stain using a battery of techniques to determine whether there is semen present.  If no evidence of semen is present, on undergarments, or sample presented, then there is no physical evidence of infidelity and, therefore, continued testing is unnecessary.

 

If the stain is identified as semen, then DNA analysis of  the stain and a reference swab sample from the partner, male or female,  is conducted to determine whether the semen came from the partner or some other unknown person. Stains that are the results of sexual activity are often a mixture of both partners doing the act, male and female DNA or male and male DNA.  Epithelial cells from the vaginal wall, mouth or skin comprises the female DNA.  Suspicious stains are cell typed using differential extraction which takes advantage of each cell’s unique type.  DNA profiles are generated from each extracted stain as well as from the reference sample for the male and / or female.  If the profile from the partner’s sample does not match the DNA from the stain samples presented, then some other man or woman created the stains

 

Likewise, stains on male undergarments could be an indicator of sexual infidelity with either male or female.  As well staining on male undergarments may be caused by urine, urinary tract infection, feces or semen.  The same type of analyses would need to be done with the known partner’s reference swab to determine whether the partner caused the tested stains.

 

Garments and or other samples should be stored at room temperature, and sent to the lab in paper bags or envelopes.  Never use plastic bags nor should you refrigerate the sample item.  The partner’s reference should be collected from the cheeks of the mouth using sterile swabs and sent to the lab in its own paper container.

DNA Testing Meets Child Safety

23rd December 2009

paternity-express-child-safetyEvery now and then there is an amber alert in some state or the other.  A child has gone missing, and sometimes the parent does not have an up-to-date photograph or they are so rattled that they sometimes appear incoherent and does not provide a proper description of their child. Ever heard “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well we believe a CSIC is worth a million words.  We have had a program in place which has everything your local authorities and even if necessary the FBI can use as a tool.  It prevents precious time being wasted.  If ever you face a situation where your child becomes lost or missing, you simply hand a copy to your local police officials and it has everything they will ever need to identify your child though you may still have to provide a recent photograph of the child if necessary.:  It is a Child Safety Identification Certificate.

 

Just what is a Child Safety Identification Certificate?  It is a document / certificate which contains the DNA profile of your child and has his or her biographical data, such as full name, date of birth, height, weight, gender, race/ethnicity, hair color, eye color, residence, and a photograph of the child when it was compiled and a consent form which must be signed by a parent.  The photograph of the child will become part of the CSIC which is returned to you. Thereafter, parents are urged to take a photograph at least once each year if the child is over 15 years old but at least every 3 months if the child is age 0 to 15 and keep it with their CSIC.  Children age 0 to 15 features change dramatically as they grow.  The parent should always keep the CSI updated by keeping the most recent photograph of the child with it and making sure the photograph is updated at least once a year thereafter by photographing the child and keeping the most recent photograph with the CSIC.

 

Getting a CSIS is a simple, easy, painless procedure.  The DNA Profile for a CSIC is the same as doing a paternity test only there is no alleged father involved or being collected.  Collection is simple and easy; we send you a Child Safety DNA sample collection kit that has specific instructions for completing the enclosed form and two cotton swabs which should be used to collect specimen from inside the cheeks of your child’s mouth.  This can be done from the privacy of your own home (you can do the collection yourself, or you can bring your child into a center or have a technician come to your home to have it done).  You then sent the samples to our AABB Approved testing labs.  Just like in the paternity test, the child’s samples are profiled and a certificate containing all the information you provided and the photograph is sent back to you.  Nothing is kept by our lab just a record of the child’s profile if you should ever need an additional copy.  Processing of the CSIC takes approximately 5 business days.

 

Personal information you provide about your child will never be used or released without your express written consent.  The laboratory will store the samples for up to 6 months and they will store the laboratory results for at least 5 years or 7 years for New York Residents.

When DNA Testing is Critical to Your Immigration Case

20th December 2009

Paternity Express-Immigration

Most people simply file their petition for a relative who resides in a country outside of the United States and its holdings.  They complete the necessary forms required by Immigration / Homeland Security and they pay the required fees.  Immigration / Homeland Security acknowledges their petition by sending them a receipt which contains the “case number” which must be referred to every time one has to correspond with the consulate or Homeland Security, every time you contact them whether in writing or by the telephone.  It is most important to always have this case number as it is in your best interest.  Immigration / Homeland Security deals with millions of cases each year and that is the only way they will know who you are and to which case you refer every time you contact them.  Homeland Security / Immigration then asks you to provide several pieces of documentation which establishes that the petitioner (the person making the request or asking permission to bring another person into the country)  has the right to make this request.

The petitioner is then asked to prove one of several things 1) they are a legal resident of the United States [a green card holder]; 2) they are a citizen of the United States, either by birth or by naturalization; or 3) their petition meets with the refugee guidelines or some other guidelines whereby the sponsor themselves were granted refugee or some other permanent status and has the documents they were given then to prove it.  Quite often if those documents do not satisfy the consulate, then the consulate may ask for several additional items, including but not limited to DNA Testing.  The sort of DNA testing requested will depend upon the case itself and can range from a Maternity DNA Test; a Paternity DNA Test; or some other relationship testing which they will specify in their correspondence with the beneficiary.

The requesting Consulate /  Homeland Security will make their request in writing, setting forth additional guidelines one of which is that only an AABB-Certified laboratory in the United States should perform the testing.  They will further stipulate that, the resulting DNA Report must be sent back to the requesting entity directly from the AABB Certified Lab.  The results of the DNA testing is used to establish a biological relationship with the sponsor who is the person who is asking them to grant residency to the person who wants to come into the country [also referred to as the beneficiary].  Our lab knows how critical this request is and testing is done immediately upon receipt of the samples.   A report is then sent directly back to the requesting agency and the participants will be sent a file copy of what was sent to the Consulate or Homeland Security.  The file copy sent to petitioner and beneficiary is simply for their personal use, and must never be presented to immigration.  This copy, however, may be used in any other court proceedings as it is a legal document and will be recognized as such by a court of law.

DNA Testing and Adoption

19th December 2009

Paternity-Express-adoptive-familyThere are thousands of adoptions each year in the United States, and inter-country adoptions accounts for quite a bit of all adoptions.  All combined, there are millions of adopted children now living in the United States.  Quite often, there comes a time in the lives of both adopted children and their biological parents that they want or need to find each other.  Their decision to find each other is varied, but quite often is triggered by some major event in their lives such as marriage or the birth of a child.  In modern medicine, the medical history of biological parents is indispensible in the diagnosis and treatment of disease in descendents.

More and more adoptive families and their representatives use DNA testing at various times during the adoption process, because knowing the biological identity of the child that they are adopting, especially through proper relinquishment, will alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty while raising their newly adopted child.

There also exists a DNA Reunion registry where adoptees and their biological parents may register by submitting to a simple DNA test and creating a profile for themselves.  This DNA test will produce a 16 marker DNA profile which may be input to the DNA Reunion database to search for any possible matches between a parent and an adopted child.  When a genetic match is identified clients are notified.  The profile remains in the database for some five years and is compared to all new profiles for possible matches as they are added.  After then the subject may renew their subscription if they choose to.

DNA Reunion is an advanced technology based registry that uses the power of DNA to reunite birth parents and adoptees. The technology of DNA facilitates reunification without having any biographical information about the birth relative that the adoptee is searching for.

Twin Zygosity DNA Tests

30th November 2009

Paternity Express-twin-babiesA Twin zygosity test determines definitively whether twins are identical or fraternal.  Using ultrasound examination of the placenta, an OB-GYN doctor may be able to tell whether twins are identical or fraternal.  After twins are born, a pathological examination of the placenta can also be conducted to determine zygosity.  However, scientists recommend DNA testing to determine zygosity, as studies have revealed that either method is not 100% accurate.  Occasionally when medical records regarding zygosity is lost, or unavailable, or when the twins physical characteristics vary and are different as they grow a zygosity test will reveal whether they are actually identical or fraternal.  Only a twin zygosity test that compares the twins DNA profiles to see whether they match exactly can conclusively answer that question: an exact match means that the twins are identical.

Identical Twins twins come from one fertilized egg, known as a zygote. The zygote, which usually develops into one child, grows and divide early in development stage to form two embryos which results in dentical twins. Because the twins come from one egg and one sperm, they have exactly the same DNA.

 

Fraternal Twins on the flip side of this Fraternal twins develop when there are two different eggs in the mother’s womb that are fertilized by two different sperms. Fraternal twins will not have exactly the same DNA, although like other siblings, they can be expected to share some of the DNA they inherit from both parents

The results of a twin zygosity test may be used to satisfy one’s curiosity and assist in health problems for the twins later in life or as they grow up. For example, if one twin twin should ever need an organ or tissue transplant the other twin would be a perfect donor as they share identical DNA.

Forensic DNA Testing / Infidelity Testing

31st October 2009

paternity-express-forensic-scientist-at-workDNA identification is quickly becoming a crime solving tool.  Law enforcement agencies have created a database of criminal offenders which they use to link criminals and suspects to unsolved crimes.  All fifty U.S. states have passed laws which requires DNA profiling of some offenders.  And law enforcement officials want to compile DNA profiles of everyone who is arrested.  At the same time, defense attorneys are using DNA profile to challenge old convictions.  With the advent of DNA testing, many, many former death row inmates and inmates charged with crimes such as rape or molestation have been freed using DNA technology.  DNA evidence speaks for itself.  DNA profiling also referred to as genetic fingerprinting evolved from a questionable forensic innovation to a powerful and widely accepted tool for identification in criminal investigations and prosecutions.  DNA profiling was used in many cases in the U.S. to exonerate former defendants who were wrongfully convicted for crimes they never committed.  DNA evidence is one of the most accurate technology of this century having the remarkable ability to exonerate innocent people while at the same time convict the guilty.  DNA analysis is also being used on plants and animals, and is being touted as the greatest advancement in forensic science to date.

Employers and insurance companies could use this technology to uncover an employee’s predisposition to disease and use the information to exclude that person from employment or insurance coverage.  The same biological sample used for DNA paternity analysis can likewise be used for other biological analysis of that person.

Because DNA is the building block from which all living things develop, variations in this sequence allow forensic DNA analysts to differentiate one person from another and one animal from another.  In 1999, a jury convicted two people of harboring a vicious animal after the couple’s pit bull mauled their 74-year-old neighbor.  Canine DNA extracted from saliva samples on the victim’s clothing matched the genetic profile of the accused couple’s dog.

Likewise, more and more people are requesting infidelity DNA testing which falls under the forensic DNA testing umbrella, of various items, from condoms to clothing to samples cut from items too large to send in to a lab for analysis.  One only need call our labs to ensure that their unusual item can be tested.  Analysis is fast and accurate, and if a comparison sample is sent in to our lab, we can tell whether the profile from the article or item of clothing matches the profile of the comparison sample  On a recent intake call with a client she told us: “I don’t get mad, I use DNA testing”.

Our "Testing Labs" are certified by The American Association of Blood Banks, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, CLIA, and the New York State Department of Health