What Is DNA Testing?

What Is DNA Testing?

Jul 13, 2021

DNA is an acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is the central information storage system of most animals and plants, and even some viruses. DNA is essential in all living things for inheritance, coding for proteins, and providing instructions for life and its processes. The DNA dictates how a human or animal develops and reproduces, and eventually dies. Almost every cell in the body contains DNA or the genetic code that makes you. The DNA carries the instruction for the development, growth, reproduction, and functioning of all life. The DNA is made up of chemical building blocks called nucleotides. These nucleotides are made of three parts: a phosphate group, a sugar group, and one of the four types of nitrogen bases. Nucleotides are linked into chains to form strands of DNA. DNA can be used to trace ancestry, paternity, etc through a process called DNA testing.

DNA testing is the process of finding genetic markers that find a relationship in the DNA. There are a lot of genetic markers in the DNA, but only about 16-21 specific genetic markers can prove a relationship. DNA testing can be used for several things.

Uses Of DNA Testing Results.

DNA tests use a part of a person’s body to analyze the person’s genome. The uses of these DNA tests include:

  • To trace genetic ancestors. An ancestry DNA test can be used to trace a family tree and search for genetic ancestors dating as far back as hundreds of years.
  • To determine the paternity of a child. A DNA paternity test can be used to confirm a child’s paternity for legal reasons or otherwise.
  • Archaeologists use DNA to keep records. DNA tests are used by archaeologists to keep a record of genetic codes and the progression of life dating back centuries on earth.
  • DNA tests are used to predict future health problems and assessing the risks of having a genetic disease. DNA tests can assess whether an unborn fetus will have health problems through the use of prenatal genetics tests. An optometrist in Calgary can use the results of DNA tests to make predictions, diagnosis, and recommend treatments for genetic eye diseases.
  • DNA tests aid criminal investigations. DNA tests are widely used in police investigations to apprehend suspects. A DNA database of criminals and ex-convicts can help to apprehend a second-time offender by comparing it with the sample of other unsolved cases.
  • Scientists conduct DNA tests on new species found in the ocean or space. This can be used to establish connections and origin with existing life forms.

DNA can be damaged through environmental factors like UV lights, radiation, genotoxic chemicals, etc. However, damaged DNA can be repaired by BRCA genes. BRCA genes are two in number and are called breast cancer genes. These genes are present in everyone with a copy inherited from each parent. BRCA genes produce proteins that can help to repair damaged DNA.

DNA Testing Procedure

DNA tests can be gotten from medical laboratories that offer genetic testing in Calgary, AB. DNA testing consists of four main procedures known as extraction, quantitation, amplification, and capillary electrophoresis.

Extraction

The DNA is located inside the nucleus of cells throughout the body. To get the DNA sample, the extraction step helps to break open the nucleus and releases the DNA molecules into solution. Separation of the DNA molecules from all other cellular material can also be carried out in this step.

Quantitation

The quantitation step helps to make sure that the DNA sample is gotten from the human that is to be tested and not from another organism such as bacteria. The quantitation step helps to measure the quantity and quality of the DNA present in the sample.

Amplification

In this stage, millions of copies of a specific sequence of DNA are made in a short time through a technique called Polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Capillary Electrophoresis (CE)

This is the final stage in the DNA testing process. The data collected from the separation after the PCR technique is collected on a computer that is attached to the CE instrument. A DNA profile is then developed through the use of a software program.

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