Paternity Testing can definitely be relied upon as the most secure and accurate method to establish the paternity of a child. However, it is possible to cheat in a paternity DNA testwhich means that test participants will deploy a number of cheating methods in an attempt to change their results.
Cheating Paternity test Tactics
If you are responsible for taking your own DNA samples then you are fully responsible for making sure DNA sample collection is carried out as required. You will be sent a home kit for your paternity test containing you the oral swabs for every test participant. Test participants can cheat by:
- Asking a friend to give a DNA sample instead of them
- Swabbing a pet, such as a dog
- Switching swabs and deliberately (or sometimes accidentally) placing them in the wrong envelope, that is, placing the father’s swabs in the envelope allocated to the mother
In the first instance, if you tried asking a friend to give their sample, you may get away with it and a laboratory may not be able to detect the fact you have cheated. If the alleged father’s swabs are switched with those of another man a friend chances are the results will be an exclusion of paternity. Anyone undertaking such an act clearly has ulterior motives and has done something illegal; should that person be caught out there will be serious legal consequences.
An interesting case which has happened was of a mother who knew the alleged father was the biological father of the child in question (a daughter) but wanted the paternity test results to be exclusion. In order to tamper with the results, the mother did the following:
- She asked her mother (the child’s grandmother) to provide DNA instead of her
She, the mother, took samples of her own DNA and passed them off as those of the daughter
The Result: When the DNA profiles between the Father and Child where compared (remember the child’s DNA was actually the mother’s), they obviously did not match and the biological father was excluded as being the child’s father. The mother was caught out and prosecuted.
Cheating In a Paternity Test and the Amelogenin Sex Gene
If the swabs are switched and placed in the wrong envelopes (as the example given the above in which the mother places her samples in the father’s envelopes) laboratories will detect this. Many DNA testing laboratory test the amelogenin sex gene as a quality assurance part of testing. This gene will determine whether samples provided belong to a male or a female and therefore, if the envelope allocated to the father contains female samples, testing will not go ahead.
If you Suspect Anyone will Cheat in the Paternity test:
You can choose to all meet up and take samples under each other’s vigilance. This is complicated if people live far away from each other and may not even be feasible if cross-border paternity testing is involved (which means kits are sent to people living in different locations for the same test).
If you harbor doubts regarding the integrity of anyone involved in test then you could opt for a legal paternity test. In a legal paternity test, there is no possibility to cheat. This is because:
- You will not be able to take your own DNA samples but rather someone who is neutral to the test will have to take the samples from you (a person referred to as a Sampler)
- You will need to provide identification to prove who you are and that you are the people who should be tested
- All DNA sampling is witnesses by the person who is taking your DNA samples ie. by the Sampler.
Generally, you can rely on people’s integrity and cheating in a paternity test is far from a common occurrence. The complications and implications cheating carries, both legally and ethically, are great and few people are so ruthless and ready to take such risks.