The Uses of DNA Testing

Since the discovery of DNA, advances in DNA technology have led to an increase in the use of DNA tests. Such tests have a wide and varied range of uses. Today a large number of people are using DNA testing to solve problems and get answers to their questions. Some of the more common uses of DNA tests include:


Ancestry
Lately, there has been a growing interest in family trees and where families have come from. Companies have sprung up that make DNA testing quick and easy. The result is that people can now use DNA tests as a way of finding their ancestors using genetic information. The information that the tests provide allow people to set up ancestral lines and establish where they come from. Depending on the individual the information might go back many hundreds of years. These easy tests have allowed people to compare their DNA with others already stored on record. By doing so, the tests allow individuals a chance of connecting to other, perhaps unknown, branches of their family tree.

Paternity
One of the most frequent uses of DNA testing is in deciding a child’s paternity. In addition to knowing who a child’s father is, paternity tests have also played a part in child custody cases. The courts have used them as a way to legally determine who should pay child support and compel them to support their children. These type of DNA tests have proven of benefit where there’s a need to find out whether someone is the biological parent of a child.

On the flip side, paternity tests have also been useful in stopping paternity fraud. They can show whether someone is or is not the parent of a child. Paternity tests are not just about answering questions concerning who should or should not pay support for a child. These types of tests can also settle questions about who should inherit an estate when someone has died.

Criminal Investigation
One area we associate with the use of DNA testing involves criminal investigations. If someone’s convicted of a crime, the police can store that person’s DNA profile. For the police, this means that they can compare them with DNA samples taken from other unsolved crimes looking for a genetic match. The use of such tests can quickly help to solve crimes.

When it comes to solving crimes, advances in DNA testing has allowed police to revisit cold cases. New techniques in testing have given them the chance to re-examine cases that they had not been able to solve before. Just as important is that progress in DNA testing have also helped to overturn convictions. With the new evidence, such testing has seen people being released.

Medical
The use of DNA testing has gone a long way in improving people’s health. The advances in such testing mean that doctors can find and deal with likely health problems sooner. It also provides doctors with the chance of finding possible treatments for various diseases.

With the use of prenatal genetic tests, doctors are able to work out if an unborn child is at risk of a genetic illness. Doctors can find out if that child is likely to grow up with health problems. Equally, DNA testing allows doctors to test people for the risk of certain genetic diseases. It can, for example, help identify those at risk of certain cancers. It means that those at risk can get regular check-ups. Knowing someone’s medical history from their genetic information can allow a doctor to take action before it’s too late.

Ancient Mysteries
And finally, another use of DNA testing has been to help solve some of our ancient mysteries. Perhaps the most recent mystery that DNA testing has helped solve is that of the English king, Richard III. Until 2012, no one knew the location of his burial place. This changed in 2012 when the remains of what was thought to be Richard III were unearthed in a Leicester parking lot. Although scientists had found signs of battle wounds and scoliosis on the skeleton, they could not confirm that it was the body of Richard III. To try and solve the mystery scientists used DNA testing. They took DNA from the remains and compared it with a direct descendant of his sister. The results proved beyond a doubt that the remains were those of Richard III.

 

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