What is DNA?

DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. DNA is the tape of life found in the cells of all living things such as humans, animals, bacteria, viruses, etc. The DNA tape consists of all genetic information that determines how we look or behave.

How does a person acquire his/her DNA?

A person acquires their DNA at the time of conception/fertilization in the mother’s fallopian tube (womb). The sperm cell from the father and egg cell from the mother each comes with a DNA tape; these two DNA tapes fuse together to form the first cell of the baby.  The formed cell then divides to form up many other cell that specialize to form the different parts of the fully formed baby by 9 months of pregnancy. Thus, all cells coming from the first cell have the same DNA Tapes – i.e. one tape resembling the father, the other the mother.

What are the different types of DNA Tests for Human Identity?

  1. Paternity DNA Testing to tell if a certain alleged father is the biological father of a child.
  2. Maternity DNA Testing to tell if a certain alleged mother is the biological mother of a child.
  3. Y-Chromosome Relationship DNA Testing to tell biological relationships between males coming from the same male lineage

What exactly is compared during a DNA Paternity Test?

Using a scientific technique referred to as PCR, we test either Autosomal or Y-Chromosomal DNA. On each of the latter two, there are sites/segments termed Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). These STRs are unique DNA segments which are preserved from Father-to-child or Mother-to-child.

Thus, when a DNA Paternity Test is done, half of the tested child’s Autosomal DNA STRs are compared with the Alleged father’s (AF) Autosomal DNA STRs to check if the child’s DNA profile is traceable in the AF’s. If so, then the AF will be considered as the biological father. In case at least 4 sites/segments  on the tested part of the DNA don’t match between the child and father, then the AF is NOT the biological father of the child. A similar technique is employed when a Maternity DNA Test is done.

Whereas Autosomal DNA STRs can be used for either Paternity or Maternity DNA Testing, Y-Chromosomal DNA STRs can only be used to establish the biological relationship of a male child to his male lineage.

Why do a DNA Test for Human Identity?

  • Peace of Mind DNA Testing. This can be done in situations where the paternity or Maternity of a child is unclear and the child is threatened with possible lack of proper parenthood e.g. when the alleged father is not sure if he is the child’s biological father, the alleged mother is not sure of Child’s biological father,  relatives not sure of child’s biological father or when there is doubt about child’s biological mother in suspected baby swapping.
  • Legal DNA Test. Ordered from Community Leaders, Child / Family Police, Probation Officers, Family Help NGOs, Magistrates, Administrator General, Court Judges, e.t.c
  • Immigration/Emigration DNA Tests. Usually ordered by Embassies or Immigration authorities Worldwide e.g. the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) as a requirement for confirming biological relationships between potential immigrants before the Visa or Green card is issued.
  • Autosomal DNA Profiling. Any person or family member can just walk in and have their DNA profiled. In case a newcomer is brought to the family e.g. after death, it is easy to confirm/dismiss a biological relation between the newcomer and the family member(s).
  • DNA Y-Chromosomal Male Relationship Testing. Done between alleged male relatives e.g. between two alleged brothers, or between paternal uncle and nephew, or between paternal grandfather and grandson to tell if boy belongs to that male lineage / clan.
  • Medical DNA Test. This is done to match an organ recipient to a potential organ donor. e.g HLA DNA Typing to match a potential organ recipient patient and potential donors for bone marrow or organ transplants.
  • Forensic DNA Test. This is ordered by Police/Investigative agencies to establish if there’s match or link between recovered samples from a Scene Of Crime to suspects, or in case of extreme catastrophes to match unrecognizable victims to their relatives.

Which samples are tested?

Blood or mouth swab or any part of the person’s body.

Procedure for DNA Testing at MBN Lab

  • Option 1: Father and/or mother plus child visit MBN Clinical Lab, consents to DNA testing, and the samples are collected.
  • Option 2: Call MBN for sample collection from your home/office.
  • Option 3: Contact MBN Lab to link you to the nearest sample center in our national or Global network.
  • Option 4: Collect your own sample and ship it to MBN.
  • Option 5: Seek guidance from leaders, Probation office, Child & family Protection Police or Courts of law.

Is DNA Testing done in Uganda? If so, Where can one go for a DNA Test?

Yes, DNA Testing services are now readily available in Uganda. The Ministry of Health (MOH) Uganda has currently authorized only two Laboratories to do DNA testing within Uganda; i.e. the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory (DGAL) and MBN Clinical Laboratories located at plot 28 Nakasero Road Kampala. MBN Clinical Laboratories has branches in Jinja, Mbale, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Hoima Mukono, Nebbi, Luwero and Mbarara where one can go for sample collection.

Additionally, you can have your sample collected at any MOH-authorized sample collection facility and then your samples will be referred to the testing laboratory for DNA Testing.

How much do I pay for DNA Testing?

  • UGX 285,000/= per sample for Paternity/Maternity DNA Test not covered under AABB International Accreditation.
  • UGX 385,000/= per sample for Paternity/Maternity DNA Test covered under the prestigious AABB International Accreditation with results acceptable worlwide.
  •  $150 per sample for Immigration Paternity/Maternity DNA Test. Note that there are additional costs related to shipping and others required in order to complete the entire process. Contact MBN Lab for a quotation.
  • UGX 550,000/= per sample for Y-Chromosome DNA Testing to relate males.
  • 285,000/= or UGX 385,000/= per sample depending on AABB coverage, for Autosomal DNA Profiling.

Note: Prices may change without prior notice.  Please call MBN Lab for updated pricing.

What are the requirements for DNA Testing?

A passport-size photograph for all sampled individuals. Additionally, a signed on and dated copy of a State-issued ID document bearing a photo e.g. National ID, Passport, Driving permit also required for all adults.

How long does it take to get DNA Results?

  •  3 – 5 working days.
  •  Express Results take 12 – 24 hrs but are charged double.

How accurate are the DNA Results from MBN LAB?

If DNA Results match the accuracy is 99.99%. if DNA Results don’t match the accuracy is 100%.

How can the Laboratory guarantee that the DNA Test results are accurate?

The processes involved in a DNA Testing entail a comprehensive Quality Assurance program at each stage of the process to ensure utmost accuracy. The processes are routinely documented, checked and confirmed by national and international agencies. In the case of MBN Clinical Laboratories, the processes are cross checked by the Collaborative Testing Services (CTS) Sterling, VA, USA and by the AABB Bethesda, MD USA.

MBN Clinical Laboratories is Internationally accredited by AABB (Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, formerly, American Association of Blood Banks)……an international mark of excellence that demonstrates our Laboratory’s commitment to quality and safety to Patients/Clients, Regulatory Agencies and Other stakeholders.

If my brother impregnates my wife, can DNA Paternity Testing accurately reveal the true Biological Father??

Yes it can! Even if brothers are from the same father and mother, or even if they are non-identical twins, the child will match with only the true biological father and not with the brother of the biological father. However, if the two brothers acting as the alleged fathers are Identical twins, the child will match with each of them!

If my father impregnates my wife, can a DNA Paternity Test reveal the True Biological Father?

Yes it does! Remember you only share half of your DNA with your father, thus your entire DNA profile is not the same as your father’s entire DNA profile and that is why you look unique. In other words the child fathered by your father will not match with you but with your father!

If the Alleged Father is dead can a DNA Paternity Test be done without exhuming the deceased father for sampling?

  • Yes! DNA samples can be collected from his personal effects such as shavers, toothbrush. The late AF’s collected DNA profile is then compared with the DNA Profile of the child to establish if there’s a biological relationship between the child and AF.
  • Additionally, if the late AF is survived by at least 5 children whose mother(s) are living, these children and mother(s) can be sampled and tested to help in contruction of an accurate DNA Profile of the late AF. The DNA Profile of the newcomer child (male/female) is then compared with constructed DNA Profile of the late AF to establish the true child’s paternity.
  • Lastly, in case the newcomer child is male, his Y-Chromosomal DNA STRs can be compared with any known son of the late, paternal uncle or paternal grandfather to establish if there’s a match between the newcomer and that paternal lineage.

All these 3 approaches will render exhumation unnecessary in majority of cases.

Who really benefits from DNA Paternity Testing?

The child who’s at risk of being fatherless is the ultimate beneficiary. However, the father and mother finally have an opportunity to settle their long term conflict regarding the child’s paternity.

Is Prenatal DNA Testing Done at MBN Lab?

YES! MBN does DNA Testing to match an unborn fetus/baby with the alleged father. A mother’s sample is also tested as a requirement.

Can Blood group Tests be used to tell Paternity of a child?

The blood grouping system was one of the earliest methods used to test Paternity but has over time been phased out completely because of vast inaccuracies. Blood groups cannot be used to pinpoint a father as the biological father of a child because the child and Alleged Father (AF) may easily belong to different blood groups. Additionally, two or more AFs may belong to the same blood group making it hard to pinpoint the true father.

How are families benefitting from DNA Testing?

There are very few people from established families that come for DNA Paternity testing, and in these few, there is already an ongoing conflict in the family that they cannot resolve without an accurate DNA Paternity Test result.