DNA Technology Introduction
DNA technology is a powerful tool for verifying biological relationships and identifying individuals.
If you choose to order or participate in a DNA test, certain DNA technologies will be employed to test your samples. Thanks to major advancements in DNA isolation and separation techniques over the past 10 years, DNA tests can be completed in just a short time.
When the laboratory receives your DNA sample, the process begins. Although there are several different techniques that labs can use for testing DNA, the overall process is typically the same.
Testing Process Overview
For a standard DNA test, the lab will:
Extract the DNA samples.
Denature, amplify, and label small DNA samples into smaller DNA segments with fluorescent tags called STR through PCR.
Denature and label large DNA samples into smaller DNA fragments with fluorescent tags through RFLP or mtDNA.
Separate and identify the DNA segments through gel electrophoresis or capillary electrophoresis.
Analyze and interpret the DNA segments to determine relationships or identity.
Verify and release the results to the interested parties.
At each step, most labs will statistically analyze the raw data for the samples before moving on to the next step.
The most common technologies used in DNA testing include: