Here we have tried to answer the most common and frequently asked questions that we get from our clients. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, feel free to leave us a comment or email us at [email protected]. We’re here to help you answer some of life’s most important questions.
Q: WHY DOES THE TEST TAKE SO MUCH LONGER THAN ON TV SHOWS?
There are two types of television shows that portray DNA testing and neither gives a very clear picture of what really happens.
The first type of TV show that often features DNA testing are talk shows, such as Jerry Springer and Montel Williams (both of which PTC Laboratories has performed DNA paternity testing for). In these shows, it often appears that participants are DNA tested and the paternity test results are instantly available. In actually, the DNA samples are collected and testing is completed several days prior to the filming of the show.
The second type of TV show that uses DNA testing are television drama, such as CSI and Law & Order. There are two exaggerations related to DNA testing that these shows utilize.
- One is that they often portray the use of some DNA samples that are simply not suitable for DNA testing, such as hair taken from a hairbrush – the DNA of hair is in the root, or follicle, of the hair, and this is extremely rare to find on hair that has been gained from a hair brush.
- Secondly, these shows often show a DNA sample submitted to a laboratory, with results available in mere minutes. In reality, normal STR DNA testing can be completed in days under average circumstances and you need to ask about DNA sample types before you submit anything to a DNA paternity testing laboratory (example: cut hair is not a good sample).
Most people needing DNA testing do not have a testing laboratory close enough to them to have their samples collected at the site where the DNA testing will actually take place. Therefore, the samples must be shipped by courier to a DNA testing laboratory, where DNA testing begins after they receive the samples. Sometimes this is a day or two after collection, or can be later if you ship samples on a Friday or late in the day.
At PTC Laboratories, once the samples are received at our laboratory, DNA testing begins and results are usually available in approximately three working days. At PTC Laboratories, if the sample provided is a standard mouth swab, then this can be expedited to the next day after the samples reach our laboratory.