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Each person (except identical twins) has a unique genetic profile, irrespective of tissue origin (bone, muscle, blood, etc.). Therefore, any type of sample/tissue can be used to generate a genetic profile.

The most efficient way to collect a DNA sample is through buccal swabs, as it is non-invasive, non-traumatic, fast and a friendly way to obtain amounts of DNA sufficient to perform tests. In the past, blood sampling used to be the common method for sample collection; whereas it can still be used, it does not have the aforementioned attributes of buccal swabs.

During sample collection, three buccal swabs (similar to Q-tips) are brushed gently yet firmly against the patient's inner cheek; through swabbing, epithelial cells shed from the inner cheek adhere to the swabs. Then, DNA is extracted from these cells in the lab and used to carry out the test.

Whenever a person cannot be present for direct sample collection (e.g. the person is deceased, missing or otherwise unavailable) other types of samples can be used, such as semen, hairs with roots, nails, blood stains, cigarette butts, toothbrushes, etc. These samples are considered to be forensic samples, and while it is not guaranteed (due to the nature, size and variability of these type of samples), they often contain enough DNA to obtain a partial or full genetic profile.

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