Only a few decades ago, DNA testing was the stuff of daytime television shows and primetime crime dramas. But today, genetic testing has become far more accessible to the general public.
In addition, more people are becoming aware of the wide variety of areas where DNA testing is useful. The following are just a few of the reasons why people seek DNA tests:
Establishing Inheritance Rights
When it comes to claiming an inheritance, situations may arise in which unknown children of a deceased parent wish to file a claim. In order to prove that the individual in question, whether he or she is a child or an adult, is indeed the biological heir to an inheritance, a legal DNA test is required. In such cases DNA tests ensure that those who are entitled to an inheritance are given a fair chance to prove their relation to the deceased.
Identifying Biological Parents
Children who are raised by adoptive parents or conceived with the assistance of a donor may, at some point in their life, wish to find their biological parent(s), whether it’s their biological father, mother, or both. DNA testing allows adult children who desire to identify their biological parents to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have found their biological parent.
Establishing Legal Paternity
In the United States, DNA testing is frequently used to establish legal paternity. Such court cases may include both instances where the presumed father has filed a case against the mother for visitation rights or custody, as well as instances where the mother has filed a case against the presumed father for child support. In order to prove legal paternity, a DNA sample must be taken in an authorized laboratory where the sample must be handled according to a strict procedure. Home paternity test kits can be taken at home and sent back to the laboratory, where the samples sent will be analyzed to indicate paternity.
Establishing Genealogy & Ancestry
Recently, websites and organizations dedicated to helping people learn more about their ancestry have touted DNA testing kits as a way to learn more about genetic ethnicity. These tests do not prove a specific rather, but rather, are used to identify probable matches among others who have taken similar tests. For those who wish to know more about their family’s origins and don’t know where to begin, genealogy and ancestry tests are a good springboard for learning more.
DNA testing for immigration purposes is becoming more common in the United States. Children born abroad must prove a biological relationship with a parent who is a United States citizen in order for citizenship to be transferred to the child. Testing may include mother-child, father-child, child and full sibling, child and half-sibling, and other relationships, such as child and uncle, aunt, or grandparent. DNA testing is currently the only method accepted by the United States which can prove a biological relationship. But because of some of the difficulties related to genetic parentage testing—including logistical delays, expenses, and complexity—it is a last resort to be used in cases where documentation such as birth certificates are otherwise not available.