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How to Interpret DNA Maternity Test Results
Created On
Friday, April 17, 2009
Last Modified On
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Last Modified By

Many people think that a DNA maternity test will give a "yes" or "no" answer. The truth is that it is slightly a bit more complicated than that. In the vast majority of tests, either an "inclusion" or "exclusion" result will be reported. What an Inclusion Means?

An inclusion is reported with a probability of maternity (POM) of 99% or more and a match is found at all genetic markers tested. In an inclusion report, it is stated that the alleged mother "cannot be excluded" as being the biological mother of the tested child. These three words often create a lot of confusion. This wording is used since an inclusion can not ever be reported at 100%. However, the combined maternity index (CMI) should also be looked at, as it can help to make the results more understandable. First though, it should be understood that the bare minimum for reporting an inclusion result is with a POM of 99% and a CMI of 100 (alleged mother and child only) or 500 (alleged mother, child and father). Since our laboratory utilizes an advanced analysis of fifteen genetic markers as a standard, we normally see POMs and CMIs far exceed the minimum requirement. So, when the CMI is say, 100,000, it can be interpreted as a 1 in 100,000 (of the defined female racial population) certainty that the alleged mother is the biological mother of the tested child. What an Exclusion Means?

An exclusion is reported with a POM of 0.00%. In an exclusion result, it will be seen that at at least two genetic markers, there is a non-match. In an exclusion report, it is stated that the alleged mother "was excluded" as being the biological mother of the tested child. When an exclusion is reported, a second, independent test will be performed to confirm that the exclusion can be duplicated. Other Possibilities

Another possible result may be an inclusion with a mutation. In most cases, an inclusion result means that at all tested genetic markers, a match is found. However, sometimes an inclusion can be reported when all but one marker has a match (or, in rare cases, two). Known mutations have a specific frequency in various racial populations and, often, that frequency is low. So, when the mutation frequency is figured into the formula for calculating the POM, it can possibly cause the POM to fall below 99%. To confirm mutations, it is always recommended that the father test, if he has not already, or to perform extended testing of additional markers.

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