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How does a paternity test work?

The state of Florida allows for paternity testing to determine who the biological parents of a child are. In a DNA test, a stretch of DNA is taken from the mother, the child and anyone who may be the father of the child. Such a test is generally 99.9 percent accurate as the child's DNA must be a combination of the mother and the father's DNA.

A DNA test will use what are called restriction enzymes that are placed on an agarose gel. The restriction enzyme is used to ensure that DNA is cut at the same sequence. For example, the use of the EcoRI enzyme will ensure that DNA is cut at the GAATTC sequence for all samples. In the case that a sequence does not occur in the same place for two individuals, another sample may be taken from a better location.

Once the DNA is cut, it will be examined, and the results will be placed on a chart. As results may be similar for a certain piece of DNA, a lab may require multiple stretches of DNA to obtain a statistically significant result. In some cases, it may even appear as if two different people may be the father of a child. When this occurs, additional stretches may be analyzed from multiple locations.

In a family law setting, a DNA test may be a vital tool. Unless a person can prove that he or she is the biological parent of a child, he or she may not have full parental rights. This may allow a parent to put the child up for adoption or terminate visitation or custody rights of the other parent at any time. Once paternity is established, a parent may petition for further parental rights or ask for child support from the other parent.

Source: The Tech, "How does a paternity test work?", June 04, 2004

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Nix Law, P.A. Orlando Family Law For Men

Nix Law, P.A.
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Orlando, FL 32803

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