paternity testing

wijsman at wijsman at
Wed Apr 14 11:35:20 EST 1993

> 	Can someone provide information as to the current status of DNA-
> based paternity testing? What is the current methodology of choice in terms 
> of speed, cost and ease of interpretation?
> 	Is the "DNA fingerprint" still being used (i.e. a Southern probed 
> with a single multi-locus probe)? I know that in forensic work this has 
> been replaced with multiple single-locus probes, but paternity testing 
> doesn't involve the same problems.

The paternity tests I have seen have all used multiple single-locus probes,
the same probes as are being used for forensic work. DNA fingerprints are
harder to interpret for paternity testing than for forensic work since
there are so many combinations and permutations of the data possible if
one tries to use a multi-locus probe.  I have seen no cases of either
forensic or paternity work in the US in the last few years in which the
case rests only on a multi-locus fingerprint.  All analyses are also
broken down into multiple single-locus probes.  The quantitative
interpretation of the fingerprint data is just too hard.

There are a few companies who use PCR.  I haven't seen any cases using
this technology, but I see no reason that it couldn't be used for
paternity testing.

Ellen M. Wijsman
Div Medical Genetics, RG-25
and Dept. Biostatistics
Univ. of Washington
Seattle, WA    98105
wijsman at

More information about the Gen-link mailing list