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DNA Testing – The Tiniest Sample


DNA testing can be carried out on the smallest of samples. DNA is present in every cell of our bodies so laboratories and clinics only need a tiny sample with which to isolate each individual’s DNA. Provided the sample isn’t contaminated even the smallest sample can hold the information needed.

DNA Testing - Giving A DNA Sample

Although DNA can be extracted from tiny samples a larger sample will be more useful in the long term. That said, when you are sent a sample kit by post you still only need to provide a fairly small sample, just some cells from the inside of your cheek collected using the supplied swab. There will be specific instructions to ensure that you collect as many cells as possible so that the laboratory has a good sample to work with.

The Accuracy of DNA Testing

Even a tiny sample can provide DNA testing with enough evidence to place someone at the scene of a crime, establish family relationships or even investigate ethic origins of archaeological remains. DNA testing is proving to be pivotal in an increasing number of instances – here are just a few examples:

  • Inca sacrifice – in the 1990s the frozen remains of an Inca human sacrifice were found on Mount Ampato in Peru. The girl, estimated to be around 500 years old, was aged around fourteen when she died, and has been remarkably well preserved. DNA testing could identify her mitrochondrial DNA, which in turn could identify living Peruvian decendants who may be related to her.
  • Plant DNA solves murder – the first case of plant DNA analysis contributing to a murder conviction came from the site of a murder in Arizona. Pods found in a suspect’s truck were proven to have come only from a tree near the scene which showed signs of vehicle damage.
  • Proving innocence – DNA testing is often used to eliminate people from an investigation, but this offers no comfort for those innocent people who were tried and convicted before DNA testing became commonplace. If case files include relevant samples of DNA, further DNA testing could prove innocence and allow those falsely accused to resume a normal life.

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