Modern Era of DNA Testing in Ghana

2000’s: SNP Arrays
In the early 2000’s, scientists were able to combine thousands of SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) loci into a single test. SNPs are letter changes in the DNA that can be used as genetic markers for a variety of applications. SNP arrays are not commonly used for relationship testing but are used for a number of other genetic tests including; predisposition to genetic disease, health and wellness, and ancestry. DDC uses a large 800,000 SNP custom array for the GPS Origins™ test. The array contains AIMs (Ancestry Informative Markers), Y-Chromosome markers, mitochondrial markers, ancient DNA markers, and other markers useful for establishing more distant biological relationships like 4th or 5th cousins.
2010’s: Next Generation Sequencing
NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) or Massively Parallel Sequencing is the newest technique available for genetic analysis. This procedure generates a DNA sequence that is the linear arrangement of letters (A, T, C, and G) that occur in a DNA sample. Because the technique allows one to simultaneously start the sequencing at thousands of locations in the DNA that overlap, massive amounts of data can be generated and put back together with appropriate bioinformatics programs. It would be like taking book and cutting out sections of sentences then reassembling the book using a computer program to recognize overlapping sentence fragments.

DDC currently uses NGS for its Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test (NIPP) that can determine the biological father of a fetus as early as 8 weeks gestation using a blood sample from the mother. Before NIPP testing, a chorionic villus sample (cvs) or amniocentesis sample was required from the mother. Both of these procedures are invasive and have a small risk of damage to the fetus. The NIPP test is safe for the fetus and detects circulating cell free fetal DNA (cfDNA) in the mother’s plasma and sequences the DNA to interrogate several thousand SNPs.

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Explaining History of Paternity Testing

1920s – Blood Typing

In the early 1900s, scientists identified 4 different blood types in humans – A, AB, B, and O – based on the presence of certain proteins called antigens in the blood. This blood typing system, called the ABO system, provided doctors with crucial information about their patients, allowing them to safely perform medical procedures, especially blood transfusions, by matching the blood types of patients and donors.

In the 1920s, scientists recognized that blood types were genetically inherited. A blood typing chart was developed to show the relationship between parents and their children.

Scientists realized that they could predict the blood type of a child based on his/her parents’ blood types. Conversely, if one of the parents’ blood types was unknown, the scientist could use the blood types of the child and the known parent to identify the missing parent’s blood type. In this way, scientists used blood typing to determine paternity or maternity of a child. However, because the information from blood typing is limited, it was difficult to definitively identify biological relationships.

For example, if a child had Type A blood and the child’s mother had Type AB blood, the child’s biological father could have any of the 4 blood types. This means that based on blood typing alone, no man could be excluded as the child’s father.

In the end, the power of exclusion (the power of a test to eliminate a certain percentage of the population from being biologically related to an individual) for blood testing is only 30%. Blood typing is not a useful technique for determining paternity.

1930s – Serological Testing

In the 1930s, scientists discovered other proteins in the blood that could be used for identifying humans. The Rh, Kell, and Duffy blood group systems, like the ABO system, were based on the presence of specific antigens in the blood. These antigens are also genetically inherited, proving useful in identifying possible biological relationships.

Through these serological tests, scientists could use the blood group systems of two parents to predict the possible blood group of their child. Scientists also applied serological testing to paternity cases, attempting to identify alleged fathers based on the blood groups of the child and mother. However, much like the use of the ABO system for paternity testing, serological tests are not conclusive in identifying biological parents. The power of exclusion for serological testing is only 40%, meaning this technique is not effective in identifying biological relationships.

1970s – HLA Testing

In the mid 1970s, scientists turned from blood typing to tissue typing. Scientists discovered the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), a protein prevalent in all of the body except the red blood cells. White blood cells in particular carry a high concentration of HLA. There are many different types of HLA, and these types vary between each person. Because of the high variability of HLA types between different people, HLA testing became a more powerful mode of paternity testing. The power of exclusion for HLA testing alone is 80% and coupled with blood typing and serological testing is close 90%.

Despite its more powerful ability to identify biological relationships, HLA testing is not an ideal technique. HLA testing requires a large blood sample that must be no older than a few days old. The collection process can be uncomfortable, making it dangerous for infants under the age of 6 months.

1980s – DNA Testing Using RFLP Technique

In the mid 1980s, a technique was developed called restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP, pronounced “rif-lip”). This technique became the first genetic test using DNA. Like HLA and blood proteins, DNA is genetically inherited from both parents. However, sections of DNA are highly variable and more unique than HLA and blood proteins, and it is found in every part of the body. These attributes make DNA ideal for identifying biological relationships.

RFLP allows scientists to cut out the unique sections of the DNA, which is extracted from blood samples. For paternity testing, these unique sections of the parents and child are compared. Half of the child’s DNA should match the mother’s DNA, and half should match thefather’s DNA if they are biologically related.

Sometimes during this procedure, the child’s DNA will not appear to match either parent’s DNA, possibly caused bygenetic mutations. When this occurs, scientists will perform statistical analysis to determine the possibilities of mutation and biological relationship between family members.

Because RFLP is applied to DNA testing, this procedure yields highly conclusive results, typically with a power of exclusion higher than 99.99%. However, this technique is not performed frequently today because, like HLA testing, RFLP requires a large blood sample and a longer turnaround time.

1990s – DNA Testing Using PCR Technology

Although developed in the 1980s, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique in DNA testing became the standard process for paternity testing in the 1990s.

PCR is a technique through which samples of DNA fragments are copied and replicated many times until billions of copies are made. Because of the power of PCR, very small samples of DNA from any part of the body can be used in a DNA test. Additionally, the process is quick.

By using PCR technology in DNA testing, paternity and other DNA tests can be performed much more easily and quickly. In a standard paternity test, DNA samples will be painlessly collected through buccal swabs from the mother, child, and alleged father. Then, the samples will be replicated through PCR and compared for similarities. Because half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the mother and the other half from the father, the child’s DNA should match portions of both biological parents.

Because DNA is being tested in this process, results yielded from a paternity test using PCR technology are often higher than 99.99%. This process has become the standard for biological identification, as it requires only a small sample from any person (even in prenatal cases), is highly conclusive, and provides results very quickly.

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DNA Test Report Authenticity 

All our reports contain some features to be able to verify it’s genuine DDC report;

All DNA report PDFs now contain electronic signature certificate to verify authenticity of the DNA test report!
All reports include names/tested parties titles and reference identifiers.

All reports include laboratory director’s signature

All reports include DDC logo 

All reports include list of tested loci, PI, probability % and conclusion

With out DNA test report you will receive peace of mind. With DDC Ghana you do not have to worry if your report is genuine.

If you have any doubts about your DNA report, please send it to verify@dnacenterghana.com and we will confirm the authenticity of the report.

DNA testing at DDC Ghana

DNA Centre Ghana has now officially become DDC Ghana. DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) was founded in in 1995, and is now one of the largest private DNA testing organization’s worldwide. We now deliver fast, accredited and affordable DNA testing services nationwide across Ghana and neighboring countries.

DDC has achieved a number of international accreditations including:

• ANAB Accreditation Services (ISO/IEC 17025) (formerly ACLASS Accreditation Services)
• American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
• ASCLD/LAB-International
• National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA)
Ministry of Justice, UK (MOJ)
• Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
• College of American Pathologists (CAP)
• New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH)

We deliver various DNA testing options for both legal situations such as court cases, child dispute and immigration and personal knowledge tests for those who wish to confirm a biological relationship.

Paternity Testing Maternity Testing
Prenatal Testing whilst pregnant Siblingship Analysis
Grandparentage Testing Aunt/Uncle Testing
Twin Zygosity Immigration Testing
Y Chromosome Comparison Test mtDNA Comparison Test
Ancestry Testing Genetic Reconstruction
DNA Profiling DNA Banking
Cell Line Authentication Veterinary Testing

I want to find out if the baby is mine. What do I do?

You want to confirm biological paternity and do not know where to start? That is okay, we will try to explain the process of getting the DNA paternity test done in Ghana in this article;

If you are not sure what test you need, just contact our facility by email or phone (0302-932267). When you get to talk to our staff you will have opportunity to ask questions and book your sampling appointment or request home DNA test kit. To book the appointment just call our line and book date and time convenient for you. It is best to contact us at least a week in advance.

When you come for your sample collection appointment, just make the receptionist know you are coming to have your samples taken for DNA test and she will call the Case Manager or Medical Laboratory Assistant to attend to you. Our AABB certified staff will help you to fill the request form and collect buccal sample (saliva) from your mouth using sterile swab applicator. If you have your DNA test done for legal or immigration purposes, you need to provide national ID (passport, voter’s ID or birth certificate for newborns and babies) and one passport picture. If you have any instruction letter from court, embassy or  immigration service you need to provide that as well.

Tested individuals do not have to come together. We can collect samples from alleged father on the different day and location than child’s sample. We also organize sample collection abroad (Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia) through network of collection sites and clinics. Contact DNA Center should you require cross country sample collection.

If you have ordered home DNA collection kit (kit includes everything you need for collecting samples yourself + detailed instructions), you will use the sterile applicators provided to swab the inside of the mouth to collect buccal sample (saliva), let the applicator dry for 10 minutes, insert applicators in to the sample envelopes and send it back to DNA Center Ghana in Accra.

Processing times of your samples depend on type of the the DNA test and samples used. Please enquire about current testing times at the sampling appointment.

DNA Center Ghana is the first DNA service provider in Ghana with AABB certified staff. Our facility provides AABB accredited services and AABB, ISO17025 accredited testing in Ghana and Africa.

How is DNA test done on a baby

Many clients call or come to us and ask how to do DNA Paternity Test on a new born baby or small child. This article should explain how we handle cases like that, how and why we are the facility to choose for such tests.

The most important information is that we can do the test on a baby which has been just born and is only few minutes old. Our modern DNA tests are suitable for babies and children in general because they do not involve needles or any other invasive techniques or instruments and are very sensitive and accurate. Our state-of-art automated laboratory equipment can process any biological sample including simple specimen of saliva called buccal swab sample.

Our tests commonly test saliva samples, there is no need for drawing the blood, hence the test can be done on babies and small children and you do not have to wait for child to be certain age. To have the baby’s saliva sample taken you can book an appointment and come with the baby for sampling or pick up home sampling DNA kit and collect the saliva sample yourself. once we have collected the samples from the baby and the alleged father it takes about 5-10 working days to issue the report.

To book appointment and or receive further information about how to do DNA test on a newborn or small child call 0302932267 and speak to our Case Manager.

Myths about DNA tests – you must read

700-00515149There are many myths surrounding DNA paternity tests and generally DNA testing in Ghana. In this article, we will try to address and explain some of the most common ones to help wider public to better understand this sensitive area.

Let’s start with myth No.1 which is Blood group test is sufficient to determine the biological paternity. NOT true! Blood group test CANNOT provide satisfactory confirmation of paternity without further examination, usually DNA test.

Myth No.2, DNA test works better with the sample of blood. NOT true! Buccal (saliva) sample works as well or better then blood sample. On top of that there is no issue of using the needles, hence sampling can be done on newborn babies. All modern labs abandoned using blood samples (except DNA tests during pregnancy) and moved on to buccal sampling.

Myth No.3, All DNA tests are pretty much the same. NOT true! Always check for international accreditation AABB and ISO17025, number of genetic markers tested, accuracy and reliability. DNA Center Ghana is the only DNA facility in Ghana (with offices in US, UK and elsewhere) offering accredited DNA testing, 20 genetic marker test as standard, accuracy higher than 99.%9999 and Dual Process testing to maintain the excellent reliability.

Myth No.4, I have to travel to the clinic from faraway else I can’t have my DNA test done. NOT true! DNA Center Ghana can send you HOME COLLECTION KIT and you can swab the saliva sample from the mouth yourself.

Myth No.5, I have to wait until the child is born to do paternity test. NOT true! DNA Center Ghana offers DNA paternity tests during pregnancy from as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Myth No.6, Alleged father is dead or not available for testing and I can’t confirm paternity. NOT true! We can help you confirm the biological paternity using other DNA tests available.

Myth No.7, Every DNA test result can be used at court as evidence or for immigration purposes as a proof. NOT true! There are different types of DNA tests. Legal DNA test for the Court, Immigration DNA test for VISA and settlement applications and Personal knowledge DNA test just for your information.

Myth No.8, I have to travel to Ghana to have my sample taken for DNA test. NOT true! If one or more tested individuals reside outside Ghana, we can arrange their sample collection at our nearest collection site. Nobody has to travel to Ghana only to have their samples collected.

Myth No.9, DNA test can be done only from certain age of the child. NOT true! Our DNA test can be done immediately after the baby is born. There is NO age restriction for the DNA test to be done.

Myth No.10, Old biological samples (hair, tooth, nail, etc….) can’t be tested. NOT true! DNA Center Ghana can test biological samples many years old without a problem and at NO extra charge.

There are certainly many DNA myths we missed. If you are not sure and have questions related to DNA testing just call us FREE from any Vodafone number in Ghana at 0302-219946 or email us at info@dnacenterghana.com