What is DNA?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) contains the genetic information used for the development and functioning of every living creature. Our testing begins by extracting DNA from buccal (cheek) swabs, blood, semen, hair, or skin cells and then copy that DNA billions of times with a process called the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). We specifically examine a number of regions, known as loci (singular = locus), throughout the DNA. At each locus you receive one piece of DNA from your mother and one piece of DNA from your father; these pieces of DNA are called alleles. Alleles are designated by numbers and this data is included in your final report. For example, in the locus D16 you may have alleles 11 and 13, conventionally reported as: D16 11, 13.

Some loci may have only one number written twice (ex. 11, 11) and this means you received the same allele from both your mother and father.

One locus, called Amelogenin, identifies the sex of the sample donor. In this locus, the alleles are designated with letters, not numbers. X, X indicates a female while X, Y represents a male.

We examine 16 loci when conducting your human DNA test. All of these loci, and the alleles that they contain, constitute your unique DNA profile.