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Q. How does a DNA parentage test work?

  1. A child inherits DNA from the mother’s egg (23 chromosomes) and the father’s sperm (also 23 chromosomes). Each parent contributes half of the child’s DNA. The child (and every person) has 23 pairs of chromosomes. For each location (“locus,” plural “loci”) in a chromosome pair there is a specific DNA sequence in each chromosome. A DNA parentage test works by identifying the specific DNA sequences for multiple loci in the mother, child, and father. If the mother and father are the parents of the child, the two DNA sequences at each locus in the child’s chromosomes must have been inherited from each parent. By determining these DNA sequences, paternity or other familial relationships can be established.