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What is DNA and why do we test it?

If you would like to know about DNA paternity testing, including the reasons for paternity testing and the types of DNA paternity tests that are available, the information in our DNA testing guide will interest you.


What is DNA and why do we test it?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the body’s genetic "blueprint". It is a long thread like molecule shaped like a twisted ladder (a double helix) that carries the genetic code which determines our individual characteristics.

DNA is found in almost all of the billions of cells that make up the human body. This is why we are able to use simple mouth swabs to take cells from the inside of your mouth for DNA testing.

A child inherits half of its DNA from each parent. No two people in the world have exactly the same DNA except genetically identical twins.

Cellmark - dna molecule

DNA paternity testing detects certain parts, or regions of the genetic code that vary greatly between people. By using several genetic tests the DNA at a number of these variable regions can be detected and compared to see if individuals are related.


Except for one test which identifies the sex of the person being sampled DNA testing identifies nothing else about the individuals - nothing about susceptibility to disease, height, weight or any other personal characteristic – merely that they are or are not related.


Fully consensual

That’s the legal way of saying that everyone having DNA samples taken for relationship testing must agree that it can take place. Reputable DNA testing agencies will always ask you to sign a simple form to confirm your acceptance – parents with care should sign for children being tested. This is a requirement of the new Human Tissue Act and it will reduce the amount of relationship testing which takes place without individuals being aware of it happening! 

For further information on the work of the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Act visit the HGC’s website www.hgc.gov.uk.

This makes DNA paternity testing the safest, most secure and most accurate method available for confirming paternity and other forms of relationship testing.

Guide index














Get a quote

Get a quote for DNA testing/paternity test

If you would like a quote for DNA testing / a paternity test, or further information on DNA tests, from up to three providers of DNA paternity testing services in the UK

Complete the DNA testing enquiry form....