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Home DNA Testing

News and insights in the world of DNA and genetics for paternity, immigration and forensics

Archive for the 'Infidelity' Category Grouped Archives

Multiple sources have confirmed that Arnold Schwarzenegger never asked for a DNA test to prove he was the father of Mildred Baena’s child.  In addition, Mildred Baena has yet to establish paternity which typically requires a DNA test.

Sources state that Baena’s husband was out of the country when the child was conceived and that he did not return until shortly before the baby was born.  In addition it is said that the child bears a striking resemblance to Schwarzenegger and to Schwarzenegger’s youngest son Christopher.

According to the American Association of Blood Banks an agency that also monitors DNA Paternity Testing, 3.5 out of 10 Paternity Test comes back as a negative.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger safe to assume Mildred Baena’s child is his with out a DNA Test? Appearances can be deceiving especially when it comes to a persons DNA. Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger should insist on a DNA test?


By Briana R.

Back in the 1700s, the best way to determine who a persons father was, was by taking a good hard look at the child, followed by a good hard look at the father. If there were enough coincidences then maybe a relationship could be possible. by the 1800s, it was discovered that eye color could be a paternity identifier. With recent DNA advances we have learned that the eye color theory is flawed. We now know that eye colour is determined by at least six different alleles, or genetic markers. Fortunately paternity testing has become a lot easier and much more affordable over the past few years due to advances in DNA science.

Although an estimated 200,000 DNA tests are conducted each year by states needing to determine child-support and welfare issues, not as many people are willing to conduct their own at-home paternity test because they don’t realize the simplicity and convenience of an at-home paternity test.

How does home DNA testing work?

Paternity testing requires a painless sample from both the child and possible father. Even without a sample from the mother, DNA paternity test results are up to 99.9% accurate. Most companies provide testing material which they will mail directly to you so that you can provide the samples.

Because of advances in DNA testing it is no longer necessary to draw blood. Buccal (mouth) swabs are the standard. These swabs have the same genetic information that is carried in blood but none of the hazards. By gently massaging the inside of the child’s mouth, cheek cells are collected. These cells are then sent to the lab for testing. Labs analyze up to sixteen genetic markers of the child and match them against the markers of the alleged father. Because each of us receives half our genetic markers from each parent, the results of DNA paternity testing are still accurate without the DNA information of the mother but a really good test will include the mother this helps insure that there is no chance of a false positive.

What else can a DNA test do?

DNA test kits can also be used to analyze sibling relationships, establish cousin or grandparent relationships, determine twin zygosity (i.e. whether twins are fraternal or identical), identify ancestral origin, verify Native American decent, assure parents they left the hospital with the right baby, and most important, provide legal evidence – be prepared to pay a bit more for legal tests. Legal tests can be used to settle adoption issues, settle child-support disputes, and provide information for immigration files. Legal tests can not be preformed using a home test kit.

How to choose a DNA laboratory

  • Accreditation is a vital part of choosing a laboratory. Accredited labs have an annual audit and inspection, undergo internal and external reviews, and have their equipment calibrated for accuracy. Look for an ISO and/or AABB certification. Accredited labs will have a good reputation and near 100% track record for court cases.
  • Make sure you understand all the fees.  Keep an eye out for hidden fees. Some companies will charge you for the kit and then charge you again for the results.  This is especially true of kits purchased at a pharmacy or store.
  • Double check when you order your kit that you’re only buying the results you need.  If you need a test for any official purpose (changing a name or birth certificate) Make sure you are getting a legal test.
  • Ask about privacy. Make sure that your identity and intentions are kept secure.

Enjoy piece of mind. Be confident that the questions you have can be answered and that DNA testing is safe easy and stress-free.

By Alex Blake

DNA testing is done for a variety of  reasons. DNA evidence can link an alleged criminal to a crime scene.  DNA paternity and maternity testing can identify a child’s father or mother. DNA relationship testing can determine if two individuals are from the same family. DNA ancestry testing can determine ethnic origins and genealogical roots.

How DNA testing is done depends on the what kind of results are desired and on what types of samples are available. DNA fingerprinting (or profiling as it’s also known) is the process of analyzing and comparing two different DNA samples. Only identical twins have the exact same DNA sequence, everyone else’s DNA is unique. This makes DNA the perfect way to link individuals to each other or to locations where they have been.

The entire DNA chain is incredibly long, much to long to examine all of it in one test. Human DNA is made up of about 3.3 billion pairs. The differences between DNA samples occur only in small segments of the DNA–the rest of the DNA is pretty much the same. DNA testing focuses on those segments that are known to differ from person to person.

As DNA testing has evolved over time, the testing methods have become more precise and are able to work with much smaller DNA samples. Early DNA testing was done using dime-size drops of blood. Today’s tests can extract DNA from a drinking container. The DNA is extracted from whatever sample is provided (some times there is not enough DNA to provide for testing). DNA must be isolated and purified before it can be compared. In essence, it has to be “unlocked” from the cell in which it exists. The cell walls are usually dissolved with a detergent. Proteins in the cell are digested by enzymes. After this process, the DNA is purified, concentrated, and then tested.

DNA testing is done most often today by using a process called “short tandem repeats,” or STR. Human DNA has several regions of repeated sequences. These regions are found in the same place on the DNA chain, but the repeated sequences are different for each individual. The “short” tandem repeats (repeated sequences of two to five base pairs in length) have been proven to provide excellent DNA profiling results. STR is highly accurate–the chance of misidentification being one in several billion.

Ontario judge Fred Graham dismissed a paternity suit against actor Keanu Reeves, stating that any trial would be “a waste of limited judicial resources.”

The suit was brought by Karen Sala who alleged that Reeves was the father of her four adult children.  Ms. Sala, who lives in Barrie a town some 100 kilometers north of Toronto, sought $3 million a month in spousal support, retroactive to November 2006. She also wanted $150,000 a month in child support, going back to June 1988 for her kids, now 25, 23, 22 and 21.

Judge Fred Graham told the court that Ms. Sala’s allegations were “so incredible” no reasonable judge would accept them.  The lawyer for Mr. Reeve had earlier told court a DNA test showed Reeves was not the father of Ms. Sala’s adult children. Ms. Sala questioned validity of the test, maintaining she had a sexual relationship with Reeves before, during and after her marriage.  She also claimed that they had lived together and that Mr. Reeve was present at the birth of some of her children.

Mr. Reeves has vehemently denied ever having met Ms. Sala.

Court heard yesterday Ms. Sala raised several issues with the DNA results, including the possibility of tampering or that Mr. Reeves used hypnosis to affect the results.  Ms. Sala told the judge that, “I do know for a fact he is the biological father,” she added she had proof but could not show it to the court.  Ms. Sala said she had known Reeves since she was four or five, as Reeves grew up down the street from her. She didn’t connect him to the actor until much later, because she always knew him by several different names, she said. “I didn’t know he was Keanu Reeves,” Ms. Sala said. “To me he was Marty Spencer.”

Lawyer Lorne Wolfson, representing Mr. Reeves, suggested Ms. Sala’s ex-husband is in fact father of the children, as is stated in their divorce proceedings.  Ms. Sala declined to bring a motion to have her ex-husband’s DNA tested, Wolfson said.  In her affidavit, Ms. Sala said Reeves uses hypnosis and disguises himself as different people, including her ex-husband, Wolfson said.

Paternity for many is a tough issue, both emotionally and legally. Paternity is assigned to men and boys in a few ways. The first is by marriage. Men are automatically assumed to be the father if they are married to the mother or in many states if they attempted to marry the mother and did not do so in a legal manner. The second is by voluntary acknowledgment. This is a typically a form that is signed in the hospital prior to the release of the mother and child. The third is by court judgment.

Most if not all states have a law that looks something like this:

(1) A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

(a) He and the mother of the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage;

(b) He and the mother of the child were married to each other and the child is born within three hundred days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity;

(c) Before the birth of the child, he and the mother of the child married each other in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is, or could be, declared invalid and the child is born during the invalid marriage or within three hundred days after its termination by death, annulment, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity; or

(d) After the birth of the child, he and the mother of the child have married each other in apparent compliance with law, whether or not the marriage is, or could be declared invalid, and he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:

(i) The assertion is in a record filed with the state registrar of vital statistics;

(ii) Agreed to be and is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or

(iii) Promised in a record to support the child as his own.

(RCW 26.26.116 Presumption of paternity in context of marriage. on leg.wa.gov)

While this law might seem reasonable to many it does not take into account that it is estimated that 40% of wives will have an affair at some point in their marriage (www.caughthercheating.com) What if that child is not the husbands?

The second way is for the father and mother to sign Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital when you have your baby. The hospital staff will give you this form and help you complete it. When you and the child’s father sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, the father’s name will be placed on the birth certificate.

If you and the baby’s father are unable to sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the hospital, you may complete it at home. Your signature must be witnessed by someone over 18 years old, and by a person not named on the voluntary acknowledgment.

You don’t have to be the biological father to sign this form there is no proof required you are stating you are the father and will be responsible the moment you sign this from. Most states but not all have laws that allow you to challenge paternity that is assigned based on the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. They typically have a set time period with in which you can contest your paternity.

The third way is to have paternity assigned to you by a court. This can happen if the alleged father does not responded to a woman’s claim for paternity or if the Judge or Jury feels that it is in the best interest of the child. For example a section of Missouri’s bill requires courts to balance the best interests of the child and the hardships of the man who is contesting paternity regardless of a DNA test proving that he is not the father.

“James McClendon knows he’s not the biological father of his ex-girlfriend’s 16-year-old son. He’s got a DNA test to prove it. But his wages are trimmed each month to pay thousands in child support debt. McClendon, who lives in St. Louis, has been fighting a 10-year legal battle to overturn a paternity ruling that says he’s the child’s father. Between legal bills, supporting his three biological children and several failed jobs, he’s built up $25,000 in child support debt.” (States move to allow DNA paternity challenges, By LEE LOGAN The Associated Press www.kansascity.com)

Stories like this are not all that uncommon unfortunately and have been a leading reason why in over 30 states laws are being or have been enacted to allow men to challenge paternity with a DNA test. A major force lobbying for changes to paternity laws is Carnell Smith, an engineer in Atlanta. Smith successfully lobbied for a Georgia law that allows men to challenge paternity at any time. Smith who calls himself a victim of “paternity fraud,” used this same law to erase his own paternity ruling in 2003. Carnell Smith has formed a national organization lobbing for similar laws in other states.

A Texas mother of twins discovers that they have two separate fathers. The mother, Mia Washington, cheated on her partner, James Harrison, with another man. One of her eggs was fertilized by James Harrison’s sperm and the second egg was fertilized by the other man, thereby causing fraternal twins with two separate fathers. (Identical twins occur when a single egg is fertilized by a single sperm and then, when it is a zygote, splits into two which creates a natural clone of it’s self. A DNA test to determine if twins are fraternal or identical is called a Twin Zygosity Test.)

In order for it this to occur, “The infidelity would have had to occur within a 24 to 48 hour period,” says Dr. Joseph Finkelstein, a Manhattan obstetrician and gynecologist. “Once the egg is released and is fertilized, the system shuts down, so although it technically could happen, it would have to happen in two days or less.” The likelihood of having twins without any medical intervention such as the use of fertility drugs is about 1 in 100, Finkelstein says.

“Texas woman gives birth to twins – from different fathers”

There are currently only two reliable methods of prenatal, prebirth DNA Paternity or genetic testing – Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS).  Both are also more typically used to detect birth defects with the fetus. There is generally quite a bit of confusion about both methods of testing. Please allow us to explain:

An AMNIOCENTESIS is a procedure which removes a small sample of amniotic fluid that surrounds a fetus. Amniotic fluid contains fetal cells and waste products which are discharged from the fetus. These cells can provide genetic, or DNA, information just like blood or a cheek swab.  The Amniocentesis procedure is performed by an OBGYN  by inserting a needle through the mother’s abdomen and into the uterus. Approximately 2 Tbsp of amniotic fluid is drawn out, which is then shipped via overnight mail on blue ice and tested in the laboratory. An Amniocentesis is performed, on average, between weeks 14 and 24 of the pregnancy.

The fluid that is obtained through the draw can be used to test the parentage of the child, or in determining the sex of the child,  in addition to screening for over 100 types of disease inherited from the family.  Examples of these diseases are Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell disease, and Huntington’s disease.  While this procedure is routinely performed and can be safe, some risks are involved and the pregnancy can be endangered. This is why most physicians do not want to perform the procedure unless it is medically necessary. (A DNA Paternity test is not deemed medically necessary.)

RISKS: During an Amniocentesis there is the possibility of injury to the mother or the fetus from the needle.  The most common injury occurs from puncturing the placenta, but it is also possible that an infection can occur due to the introduction of bacteria into the amniotic fluid, as well as cramping, bleeding and leakage of Amniotic fluid.  This procedure also carries some risk of causing a miscarriage and when it is performed prior to 15 weeks. Studies have also shown an increased risk that the fetus will develop clubfoot from the procedure.  Unfortunately, all pregnancies have a risk for miscarriage, whether a test was performed or not. In the second trimester (when an amniocentesis is typically performed), the normal risk for miscarriage is between 2-3%. The risk for miscarriage is increased slightly with amniocentesis and the risk of amniocentesis-related miscarriage is 1 in 250 to 1 in 300.

CHORIONIC VILLUS SAMPLING, or CVS for short, is a test that can find certain problems with a fetus. CVS is performed late in the first trimester, most often between the 10th and 14th week.

CVS samples can be collected in one of two ways -  either by putting a thin flexible tube (catheter) through the vagina and cervix directly into the placenta (transcervical CVS),  or by inserting a long needle through the belly into the placenta (transabdominal CVS), which is similar to the amniocentesis procedure. The method that is used is dependent upon the position of the placenta and uterus. This will be determined the day of the procedure during the ultrasound examination. A thorough ultrasound examination is performed prior to and during the procedure.

The type of sample that is taken during a CVS procedure are the Chorionic Villus Cells. Chorionic Villi are similar to tiny fingers and grow inside the placenta. The genetic material inside these cells are the same as those found in the fetus’s cells.

The reasons for having a CVS performed are the same as those for an Amniocentesis -  to determine health of the fetus and parentage, if necessary.

RISKS: Just like the Amnio, there are some risks involved with the CVS procedure.  They include infection of the uterus, cramping, spotting, leakage and miscarriage. While miscarriages may occur following CVS, many can be unrelated to the CVS procedure. Studies in the United States and in Europe now suggest that the risk for CVS-related miscarriage is between 1/100 – 1/200.

While both tests offer the possibility of grave risks, the benefits can be educational or rewarding. The knowledge about your baby and it’s health can be good news, if there were concerns, or will have a different outcome which will influence your preparation for a new family member.  You might need to make special arrangements for birthing or for the child’s life and care.

When prebirth Paternity DNA Testing is being considered by the mother, her OBGYN must be consulted. The physician will be the one to approve and perform the test and therefore, the mother must begin with a visit to her doctor. As stated above, in most cases, an OBGYN will not want to perform either of these procedures if it is just for a Paternity Test, which is not medically necessary, as the risks can be too great. Some doctors have even told their patients that this kind of test is not even possible. This is not true.

If the mother is already planning on having one of  these procedures performed (which should be covered by insurance ) the doctors office will send the samples to a genetics lab for which ever test is needed. That lab can then grow more cells and send them along to a DNA Paternity Testing lab.  Mother will usually be granted a prebirth procedure if she has an abnormal ultrasound, has a family history of certain birth defects, has previously had a child or pregnancy with a birth defect, or will be 35 or older at the time of delivery.

If the mother is not planning of having one of the procedures, and her doctor still approves the procedure, she will most likely have to pay the OBGYN thousands of dollars for the procedure, on top of the DNA testing fee and shipping.

In all cases, a prebirth, prenatal DNA Paternity Test begins with a consult at the OBGYN, for methods, risks, approval or denial. DNA Testing is then performed when the mother and possible father have their samples collected, typically via cheek swab, and sent to the Paternity Testing Lab.






Another case of wrongful imprisonment, a man is exonerated 28 years later by DNA evidence with the help of The Georgia Innocence Project.

Oct. 4, 1978, Meriwether County, GA An elderly rape victim was asked to pick out her assailant in a lineup and she chose the man in the middle, Jerome White. White was convicted and imprisoned based solely on eyewitness testimony, as have been most cases without hard evidence, historically speaking.

Yet, as state-of-the-art DNA evidence has recently proven, White was not her assailant, another man in the lineup was and his name is James Edward Parham. While White was imprisoned for 12 years, Parham went free… free to rape again, that is. (DNA testing was unavailable at the time of the Aug. 11, 1979, sexual assault in Meriwether County when White was prosecuted.)

As fate would have it, the guilty party, James Edward Parham, happened to be in that same jail on an unrelated arrest at the time of the lineup and was pulled from his cell along with other prisoners for witness ID. The victim had her assailant right in front of her and still did not choose the correct person! Perhaps this was because:

a) The victim, who was 74 years old at the time (now deceased), was asleep on her couch, in the dark, at 4am.

b) When Parham broke into her home, he raped and beat her so severely that her face was left partialy paralyzed.

c) Before he left the scene of the crime, he handed her a pillow and said, “Hold this to your face until I get out.”

d) The woman had prescription eyeglasses but she was not wearing them at the time.

According to an article by Bill Rankin:

On Sept. 28, 1979, the woman was shown a number of photographs, including White’s, and she said she was “almost positive” it was him. When she was presented the lineup of five men at the jail a week later, she said she was positive that White — not Parham standing just a few feet away — was the man who raped her.

“It was just a fluke [Parham] was put in the same lineup with Jerome White,” said Aimee Maxwell, director of the Georgia Innocence Project, which secured White’s exoneration. “This is a tragedy, on many levels.”

Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) told White she will support legislation to compensate him for the time he spent wrongly incarcerated.

Benefield released drafts of proposed legislation that says, beginning July 1, 2011, all photographic or physical lineups must be conducted by officers who have successfully completed eyewitness ID training. The legislation also says if a law enforcement agency does not have written protocols on eyewitness ID by Jan. 1, 2009, the agency can be denied state funding or state-administered federal funding.

Benefield said improved eyewitness ID procedures are necessary because there are only so many cases where DNA evidence can be used to identify the perpetrator.

The GBI supports improved eyewitness ID protocols, spokesman John Bankhead said Thursday. “Nobody in law enforcement wants to arrest the wrong person,” he said.

The accused, Jerome White, was defended at trial by the current U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.). White’ s laywer did not have him take the witness stand at his trial, however, when the jury found him guilty, he told the judge he didn’t do it. He states, “Then, when they put me back in the holding cell, I just cried,”.

In 2004, after receiving a letter from White, while he was in prison, The Georgia Innocence Project investigated the case. The Project eventually learned that hairs linking White to the crime, through microscopic analysis, were still on file at the Meriwether County Clerk’s Office. They pursued the case on behalf of White and evidence showed that this hair did not belong to him, but to Parham, whose DNA was already in a state database.

White, now released, is the seventh man in Georgia cleared by DNA evidence and has stated that he supports passage of new laws setting protocols for officers to follow when gathering eyewitness identification evidence.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/13/07


Mumbai Children

The Times of India reports that paternity testing in India’s major cities is on the rise.

MUMBAI: It has been one of the original sins etched in the ancient testaments, but its practitioners are now feeling the heat, thanks to new age technology. Increasingly, Mumbai-based married couples who have had serious doubts about the child’s parentage are resorting to DNA finger-printing tests to establish the identity of the parent.

The state-run Forensic Science Lab at Kalina has so far received 40 blood samples from couples who are at war over the parentage of their infants. “We have been receiving these samples from police stations where criminal cases of harassment have been filed and also from family courts where there are ongoing legal disputes about the parentage,” FSL director Rukmini Krishnamurthy told TOI.

Mazagaon resident Praveen Salian is one of the many parents who went for the DNA test recently as he doubted that his two-year-old baby looked like anyone in his family. A radio officer on a merchant vessel, he had in fact separated from his wife a year ago, and filed a divorce plea in the family court.

When the case came up for hearing, the court directed the police to verify this contention by testing the DNA blood samples of the infant and the father. Salian’s plea was found to be true as the infant’s samples did not match with his own and the divorce was granted.

Legal experts fighting paternity suits say there has been an increase in the number of such cases — a by-product of the increasing marital disharmony amongst urban nuclear families. “The DNA test is recognised under the Indian Evidence Act, although it is not conclusive proof and courts still look at supporting evidence if the case is related to harassment and sexual abuse,” counsel Uday Warunjakar said.

Experts say there are two types of paternity suits filed where the DNA fingerprinting test are used. In the first case, a dispute arises over a property and there are many legal heirs claiming their right. “The legal heirs can be found out by testing the blood samples,” Warunjakar said. In the second type of case, which involves couples who doubt their spouse’s fidelity, the DNA tests are done after a harassment case or a divorce plea is filed by one of the partners.

This disturbing urban social trend has gained huge popularity in the west. According to the American association of blood banks, 30% of 3.54 lakh men who took paternity tests in 2003 were not biological fathers of the tested child.

But psychiatrists have a word of caution. “One out of every two case arises due to suspicion and an inherent martial discord between the family. If couples have doubts, then it is good that they conduct a DNA test. But the problems usually does not stop here,” said Harish Shetty, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist.

He says that couples should undergo proper screening and counselling before they undertake the DNA test. “There are other reasons for marital disharmony and they just find this as an excuse for separation. Even if the DNA tests reveal that the child is their own, things may not be the same again if ‘other’ reasons for disharmony have not been resolved,” Shetty said.

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