Examining the accuracy of paternity tests

Florida residents may find it helpful to learn more about the accuracy of paternity testing, which uses DNA to establish the identity of a child's biological father. Laboratories accomplish this by obtaining loci, which are also called DNA match points, from both the child and the potential father. While some facilities test with 13 loci, the most accurate results are determined using 16 loci.

There are two forms of paternity tests that are widely used. The first is called the exclusion method, which attempts to match the DNA from a potential father against the DNA of a child. Children receive half of their DNA chromosomes from their father, and a man is excluded from paternity if no matching chromosome pairs are found in a child's DNA. Exclusion testing is considered 100 percent accurate. The second form of paternity testing is called the inclusion method, which gives a percentage showing the likelihood that a man is a child's biological father. Match percentages can reach above 99 percent.

Paternity testing is an advanced science that is considered highly accurate. Test results can reach as high as 99.99 percent, but results above 97 percent are considered acceptable proof of paternity and are admissible in court.

Establishing paternity can be very important for parental rights matters in Florida. Any man wishing to establish a relationship with his child or to seek custody may wish to begin by requesting a paternity test. In some cases, a child's mother or guardian may not voluntarily cooperate with a request for paternity testing. In those circumstances, a potential father may wish to file a paternity action in court with the aid of an attorney.

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