Chain of Custody in DNA Testing
Chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation that shows the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence. The whole purpose of this procedure is to avoid tampering and to establish the legal status of the evidence. In a legal DNA paternity test , it means proper identification of the tested parties, proper collection, shipping and handling of the specimens, all of which should be documented by a paper trail. In addition, everyone involved in the testing process from the specimen collector to the DNA analyst should be a third party who has no interest in the outcome of the test and documents his involvement in the process truthfully.
AABB, the regulating organization for the DNA family relationship testing industry, requires that its accredited laboratories follow the strict chain-of-custody procedures. Only chain-of-custody DNA testing results are legally admissible and accepted by government authorities such as child support agencies or the immigration services as a piece of legal evidence.
To satisfy this requirement, Universal Genetics employs the following chain-of-custody procedures:
- Identification of the tested parties at collection, which includes verifying IDs and taking pictures of tested parties;
- Obtaining consent from adult tested parties and legal guardians for minor tested parties;
- Collection of specimens from the tested parties performed by a trained third-party professional who will document his involvement truthfully;
- Proper labeling and packaging of the specimens by the collector;
- Shipping specimens by courier services directly to the laboratory;
- Receipt of specimens by the DNA laboratory;
- Transfer and testing of specimens within the DNA laboratory;
- Storage of specimens;
- Reporting of results with case specific chain-of-custody documents.
Some states including New York have laws that prohibit their residents from taking a DNA paternity test without following the strict chain-of-custody procedures. Therefore, no legitimate DNA testing laboratory will offer an in-home or curiosity DNA test to the residents in these states.
For additional information about chain-of-custody or our DNA paternity testing services, please call our knowledgeable DNA testing experts at
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