Updated on 19 October, 2021
A family tree DNA test, also known as a genetic fingerprint test, is a DNA-based testing used in modern genetic genealogy which looks at certain genetic loci of one person to verify or identify genetic familial relationships, or sometimes to estimate an individual's overall genetic ethnic mix. The method was first developed by Dr. Wilhelm Reich who developed a way to amplify the DNA of deceased humans by extracting blood from their lungs. This extracted blood was then studied under a microscope and revealed several spots which were unique to each individual.
The spots were then compared with similar spots found in other people from various parts of the world using a PCR system. When these studies were deciphered using molecular biology and nuclear medicine technology, it revealed that these loci in the lungs of the diseased individuals matched those in the other individuals. From this discovery, the Forensic Doctor discovered that these loci were the same ones that caused diseases in humans and were hence the cause of disease. The methodology of testing these loci has evolved over time with more refined techniques. Currently, there are two primary options for testing these family tree DNA fragments - the DNA Microarray Test (dsft) and the DNA Profiling test (dbrt).
One of the most recent applications of the DNA Testing is through the use of the Family Tree DNA Analysis. Here, DNA samples from living relatives are collected and tested in a laboratory setting. Next, the resulting DNA profile is typed against the data of one or more living relatives to identify relationships between subjects. As of yet, there is no way to guarantee the identity of the sample donors or the source of their DNA samples. Another concern in relation to the Family Tree DNA Analysis is the accuracy of the results. Most of the studies reported have been inconclusive and these reports call into question the reliability of the results.
Most commonly, Family Tree DNA testing used to be performed on dental materials from known donors. Because DNA is easily detached from non-living materials such as tooth enamel, most testing on dental material from known donors have been unsuccessful. A recent development in the use of dna testing applications is the DNA Testing on Genetic Fragments from living samples. While it is not as successful as the previously used Family Tree DNA analysis, it has proven to be more accurate and less subject to variability when compared to the previously used procedures.
Maternity origin testing through the DNA Maternity Test (dsma test) has proven to be extremely accurate. This is because the DNA Maternity Test can accurately determine whether a woman is truly the biological mother of the child being tested. In addition, the DNA testing of an unknown donor provided a greater level of accuracy than the traditional approach of testing on dental materials. These benefits provide yet another example of how the application of dna technologies greatly enhances our ability to test the validity of genetic relationships.
Many times consumers become frustrated with the results of testing efforts, especially if they are unable to verify or eliminate a significant relationship between a sample collection and an individual sample. This is particularly frustrating when the sample collection came from a person that passed away several years ago. The frustration of this situation is further compounded when a close relative passed away several years ago but the closest living relative did not participate in the deceased person's family tree. Often times, people begin searching the deceased family members' background using information found in the death record in hopes of discovering the missing link to the missing person. In most cases, the search turns up nothing and further frustrations mount. However, a closer examination of the death record can reveal a possible connection to the sample collection which could provide the missing link to the family tree.
There are several companies that offer DNA testing kits for testing purposes. These kits contain multiple DNA samples taken from one or more individuals. The DNA samples are then analyzed by sophisticated DNA labs to identify the biological make-up of the individual. These companies commonly offer the service for an assortment of fees depending on the number of samples that need to be tested and the complexity of the case at hand. Typically, a large family tree that has many members will incur substantially higher charges due to the complexity of the data and the length of time needed to complete the analysis. Conversely, smaller family tree cases may prove to be cheaper due to lower sample numbers and shorter case periods.
Some companies also offer y-dna test kits for testing either the maternal or paternal DNA at a very high rate. These services are offered at a very high rate due to the specialized nature of the DNA testing that is performed on these samples. For example, a maternal DNA testing test kit requires at least four hundred hours of incubation (at which point the sample can be collected and analyzed) in order for it to yield results. A paternity DNA test kit requires twenty two hours of incubation.
Additionally, it should be noted that there are additional DNA testing options that are available in the market today. These options include the whole blood panel, blood chemistry panel, health history profiling test, global positioning system (GPS), and others. However, the DNA testing process is still commonly used in all of these procedures due to its high reliability and its ability to accurately determine relationships among various individuals. As such, the use of DNA testing is still widely applied by many institutions and individuals in the field of Forensic Science.