Proper DNA sample collection is paramount for medical examiners, crime investigators, and forensic scientists. Experts collect DNA specimens from multiple sources. Items found at a murder scene are potential sources of DNA evidence. The paternal DNA plays a role in childcare maintenance and custody in law enforcement.
Genetic samples are tools in the medical field to investigate genetic diseases. DNA profiling helps doctors diagnose the problem and begin treatment as early as possible. DNA collection methods should follow proper steps to ensure 100% accurate results.
What is a DNA Specimen?
It is a collection of deoxyribonucleic acid of an individual or multiple individuals via professional collection methods. Crime investigators and forensic scientists use sterile swabs to collect DNA samples from different items. However, blood samples, urine, check swabs, semen specimens, hair follicles, and saliva are used to collect DNA samples from people for paternity tests, medical genetic profiling, legal matters, and crime investigations.
DNA Samples in Crime Investigations
A DNA sample has the potential to identify human remains, catch culprits, and save people from wrongful convictions. The practice of DNA specimen collection from criminals and forming a database has been in practice for a prolonged time and is an integral part of police and crime investigations.
Biological specimens (blood) and physical evidence (weapons) are potential DNA samples that offer insight into the case. Specimens like blood and weapons are easy to identify. Often, DNA evidence is invisible to the naked eye, and it is where experts come into play because they value the importance of DNA collection methods.
DNA Samples for Medical Care
DNA testing helps in the medical care an individual or his family receives. Genetic testing diagnoses certain types of cancers, abnormalities in fetuses, and life-threatening genetic conditions. Genetic testing also helps to analyze whether an individual or his immediate family members are at risk of developing coronary diseases, cancer, and strokes.
Reasons for Genetic Testing
- To learn whether an individual has a genetic condition that runs in the family before symptoms show up.
- To evaluate the chance of genetic conditions in current and future pregnancies.
- To diagnose genetic conditions if a person and his child show symptoms and signs.
- To learn cancer prevention and treatment plans and solutions.
The DNA collection methods should be appropriate without contamination to get accurate results. DNA samples need to show accurate positive or negative results in contamination, wrong collection, and storage. Incorrect DNA results are detrimental as a lot is at stake.
How to Avoid Contamination of DNA Samples?
Lab personnel and DNA sample collectors should wear proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and use sterile instruments or tools for collecting specimens. DNA specimen collectors shouldn’t mix the sample with other objects/items and store it in lab-grade containers to eliminate the risks of comprising the samples.
DNA samples have a reputation for getting damaged despite proper collection and packaging. The damage occurs due to incorrect storage, exposure to direct sunlight, and not air drying before storage in DNA sample collection bags and envelopes. DNA samples should be delivered to laboratories and testing centers immediately to prevent damage and contamination.
DNA Samples for Paternity and Ancestry
A paternity DNA test is a reliable way to determine the biological relationship between a child and the potential father. In the paternity DNA test, if one of the 24 genetic markers is missing, the individual is not the biological father. The collection of hair follicles, cheek swabs, nails, and blood samples should be appropriate to ensure 99.99% accuracy.
Types of Paternity DNA Tests
There is a range of paternity genetic testing:
- Standard paternity test compares the child’s and potential father’s DNA to determine paternity probability.
- Prenatal paternity tests are done during the pregnancy to determine the paternity of an unborn child.
- The legal paternity test is allowed in courts for legal proceedings in inheritance and child custody disputes.
Appropriate DNA collection methods are paramount regardless of the reasons for genetic testing. If the collection is proper, there is clarity in the report, and the accuracy level is 100%. Whether an individual intends to undertake DNA testing for paternity or medical profiling, he should seek services from professional and experienced DNA sample collectors.