These days you will see a lot of DNA testing companies talking about how many markers they use in a particular DNA test they offer. Why is the number of markers tested of any importance? Well every human on the planet shares 99% of the same DNA as every other human. There is only a .01% difference in everyones DNA but that tiny difference is what makes each individual unique.
Markers are genetic sequences on a chromosome that have short repeating codes called short tandem repeats or STRs. A child will inherit 50% of its DNA coding from each parent so when a DNA test such as a paternity test is performed the lab is studying the number of matching short tandem repeats on a chromosome between the suspected or alleged father and the child being tested.
The more markers that are tested the higher the accuracy that is possible between the matches. The accuracy and conclusiveness of the test increases exponentially the higher the number of markers tested. This is simply a mathematical certainty.
So if higher markers mean significantly more accuracy why would some companies test a low amount of markers for a test that has life changing results to someone?
Well a lot of it comes down to a financial bottom line to some labs. After all they are in the business of making a profit and testing more markers takes more time and costs more money.
The number of false positives or inconclusive results are much higher for a 16 marker test, which is unfortunately the average industry standard for most companies. The accuracy is literally 1000 times more powerful when the amount of markers tested increases to 24 markers. Adding both parents also highly increases the conclusiveness of a DNA test so whenever possible that should be done.
This is not always possible though to include both parents DNA when testing so considering the importance of the truth being revealed and the consequences it can have on the lives of those being tested spending a bit more for a far more accurate and conclusive DNA test is well worth the money.
This can have far reaching effects both emotionally and financially as parental rights and duties are being determined, inheritance and estate issues can be affected, emotional connections that are formed between parent and child can also be affected. None of these things are trivial matters so the most important aspect of getting a DNA test is to find the real truth.
Don’t risk false positives or false negatives over saving a few dollars on such an extremely important and life impacting test. Remember higher marker testing is more accurate results.