6.2 Paternity testing

To determine whether or not a particular person is the father of a child tests using PCR can be carried out. DNA is isolated from the parents and the child, amplified using gene specific primers and compared by gel electrophoresis.

Schematic representation of PCR fragments of mother, father and child for paternity testing.
Figure 18: (1) Father. (2) Child. (3) Mother. The child has inherited some, but not all, of the fingerprint of each of its parents, giving it a new, unique fingerprint.

Although these resulting 'fingerprints' are unique (except for identical twins), genetic relationships, for example, parent-child or siblings, can be determined from two or more genetic fingerprints, which can be used for paternity tests (Figure 4).

© SCBC 2007