A common use for DNA testing is to prove whether or not a person is the genetic father of a certain child; in this case, a DNA paternity test is referred to as a genetic test. However, there are a number of other purposes for this science of DNA (which is also referred to as genotyping) including forensic DNA analysis and identifying relationships among wild animals.
DNA paternity testing is used by the legal system, with some countries now requiring this testing before the court orders the child’s paternity in a custody dispute. In the legal system, a legal father is defined as the person who bears the biological children of another, and the tests are used to establish whether the alleged father is the right person to be considered the father. In many cases, an alleged father will submit to a DNA paternity test and not be able to prove his identity, so the judge makes the determination.
Forensic DNA analysis is a more complex process than simple DNA paternity testing. The process involves taking DNA samples from various sources; the DNA samples may be obtained from the suspect and/or victim. DNA samples are then analyzed to determine the presence of specific genetic markers, which may include genetic differences among individuals. Because of this process, the DNA sample cannot be obtained from the suspect directly. Instead, the sample has to be collected from the victim and then analyzed.
Forensic DNA analysis can also use samples that are taken from animals other than humans. This may include animals from a crime scene or that have been euthanized. These samples may be analyzed to determine if they contain a particular genetic marker or if the animals were actually involved in the crime.
Another process of DNA testing is genotyping. Genotyping is used by forensic laboratories and others who test DNA samples. This type of analysis is used to trace relationships among domestic animals such as dogs, coyotes, wolves, horses, cows, etc., and their owners; it can also be used to trace relationships among people, especially between members of the same families.
Although it is possible for some people to be “innocent” carriers of a disease that causes genetic disorders such as AIDS, the majority of cases where people are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS do not involve true carrier status. Instead, the disease is passed on through exposure to contaminated bodily fluids, which include blood, semen, or infected needles. Some cases of HIV are caused by a retrovirus known as HIV-1; some cases are caused by a virus known as HIV-2; and, in the latter, HIV-3 is a rarer form of the disease.
For people who may become infected with HIV through an HIV-infected blood transfusion, testing for HIV-1 can be performed to confirm a person’s status and determine the possibility of HIV-2. However, the results of HIV-2 testing cannot be used in legal proceedings against a person who is HIV-positive; the courts require testing for HIV-1 before the court can consider the person a probable HIV-positive.
In addition to DNA tests, DNA analysis has been used to determine paternity in certain circumstances. When a woman is trying to obtain a birth certificate or to get a divorce certificate, paternity has been proven by DNA analysis; for example, when a woman carries a child with her, DNA testing can be used to prove if the man was the father.
The results of DNA testing are not only used in legal proceedings but are also used to determine if someone has had unprotected sex with another person and was infected with an STD such as HIV or another STD. Because these diseases are very common and transmitted through sexual contact, testing is routinely performed before sexual intercourse takes place to determine if a person is infected.
There are several ways that a person may become infected with HIV. One way is through the sharing of items such as towels, toys, and even personal hygiene products such as razors and toothbrushes. In this way, one person may have multiple sexual partners and the virus may be spread to partners through physical contact.
Another way that a person may become infected is through a vaccine that may be administered during pregnancy or the administration of an experimental drug, such as an anti-retroviral agent, such as Adriamycin or Avastin. A blood test can also detect the presence of HIV in the blood stream, although the HIV antibody test is the most accurate test.