Celebrity Paternity Testing Around the World

Photographers are taking a picture of a film star

Celebrities and DNA Testing

Here in America, we are bombarded with celebrity news, and it grows with today’s technologies like Twitter. “Baby Daddy” news always grabs the headlines, and celebs continue to find ways to have babies leading to “[insert star here] Demands Paternity Test!” But the U.S. doesn’t have a lock on celebrity paternity testing—here are the top 5 paternity headlines from around the world.

Kim Hyun Joong—South Korea

Boy bands aren’t exclusive to the U.S. either, and Kim Huyn Joong was a member and lead rapper of the South Korean band SS501. In February of 2015, his girlfriend reported that she was pregnant. Now serving in the military, Kim has stated that “if” he is the father, after paternity testing can be administered, then he will take full responsibility and help with child support. He also made it clear he has not intention of marrying the baby’s mom.

Zola, and Utatakho—South Africa

In South Africa this past July, local TV channel Mzznsi Magic debuted their reality show Utatatkho, with paternity episode. But they promised it would be less dramatic than the Maury show, seen in the U.S. Actor and music star Zola, a familiar face in South African reality TV, is the host. He too has had a very public clash over child support of his two kids in 2007, so he knows the emotion of paternity testing. “I can relate to Utatakho on a very personal level. I know the pain directly and wonder how many men go through the same thing.

Kyrie Irving—USA

One report said “Welcome to life as a super-star in the NBA.” It’s true, the NBA has been a strong provider of paternity testing headlines, to be sure! From Sean Kemp to Michael Jordan, not a year goes by without paternity drama. In this case, Kyrie apparently impregnated Andrea Wilson, former Miss Texas. TMZ reports Irving filed documents in a Texas court, alleging Wilson is pregnant with his child, and he wants a paternity test to prove it. We’ll have to wait until the baby is born (December?) to find out the results.

Louis Tomlinson—England

English pop boy band One Direction has been in the news and at the top of charts since it finished third in the British X Factor in 2010. Louis is now one of the four members of the group, and has been recently rumored to have paternity drama. The Hollywood Gossip reports that his ex-girlfriend Briana Jungwirth may have been with another guy before—and during—her time with Louis. Tomlinson seems to be excited about the prospect of fatherhood, but now also might be demanding a paternity test to be sure.

Floyd Shivambu—South Africa

The EFF is a socialist political party in South Africa, currently the third-largest party in both houses of the Parliament. Shivambu is deputy president, and is reportedly facing a court order to show whether he is the father of a five year old boy. A woman is seeking monthly “maintenance,” or child support, and the politician claims he has no knowledge of the boy—or the woman for that matter!

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Finding A Lost Identity — With DNA Testing

1036064-6-20150920094035-florida-man-with-amnesia-for-years-finds-out-his-real-identityIn Jacksonville, Florida, a man was beaten and left for dead outside a Burger King in 2004, according to WJXT. For the last 11 years, he’s been wandering through life without any idea of who he is. It took time, detective work, and DNA testing, and now finally he is in touch with his real family.

Imagine waking up tomorrow in a strange place with no idea of who you are. You have no ID, and no one recognizes you. We’ve seen such story lines on TV, but in an hour, everything is back to normal. In this man’s case, he woke up in a hospital, after being beaten nearly to death, and left by a dumpster. He suffers from what doctors diagnosed as retrograde amnesia. It took much longer that an hour, and still today, it’s not over yet.

He called himself Benjamin Kyle, BK for short. With no identification, he struggled to fulfill his basic needs. He couldn’t be accepted at local shelters, he couldn’t get a job, and he couldn’t qualify for government benefits. BK appeared on local and national television shows, hoping that someone would recognize him and solve the mystery. No one came forward. People in Jacksonville stepped forward, and one restaurant owner gave him a job, and a place to live, in 2011.

CeCe Moore, a Genetic Genealogist, also saw BK’s story and came to his aid. She formed a team, and began the quest to find BK’s relatives with the use of DNA technology. Moore had worked primarily with adoption-related searches, for people who wanted to identify their birth families.

Moore and the team worked for two and a half years, searching available DNA databases, attempting to find a match to BK’s DNA. Eventually, they found a match.

DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) is an industry leader in DNA paternity testing, where fathers, mothers, and children come forward for DNA paternity testing. But the Center also receives calls every day from mothers asking, “Can you help me find my babies father?” People hear about “DNA databases” and think that perhaps their child can submit a DNA sample and compare it to fathers in a database, to find a match. No such database exists.

There are databases like CODIS, developed by the federal government for the primary use of  cataloging convicted criminals, but these cannot be accessed by the public in search of a relative. Other privately held DNA information, like that at DDC,  is stored securely and is proprietary. The profiles from past tested parties cannot be shared without the consent of the tested parties.

In BK’s case, he now knows that he has relatives in Indiana, and plans to meet them soon. He is keeping the reunion quiet, out of respect for his family’s wishes. He plans to stay in Jacksonville, where he has created a circle of friends, and want to repay those that have been so generous to him for the past decade. He thanked his friends via Facebook, where you can read about his long, and very public experience.

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New Study Uses DNA Testing for Ancient Ancestry

DNA testing has provided answers for all kinds of human relationships, and in some cases, helps us understand our ancestry. While this new study presented by geneticists may not affect your family tree, it challenges what experts study and Genetic common ancestry concept for evolution of primatesdebate about the evolution of Neanderthal to Homo sapiens.

DNA analysis of 430,000-year-old bones discovered the Sima de los Huesos, or ‘pit of bones,’ in the mountains of Burgos, Spain, show they belong to Neanderthals. This after 2 years of intense testing of degraded, ancient DNA. Before this finding, anthropologists believed Neanderthals first evolved around 400,000 years ago. The DNA analysis, say the researchers, suggests Neanderthals emerged well before this time—up to 765,000 years ago.

The research findings were presented at the fifth annual meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE). The bones have been studied since the mid-1990s, but the new DNA testing performed was with mitochondrial DNA. Scientists were able to extract and sequence nuclear DNA, the genetic material found in the center of all cells in the body, and in ancient fossils. They were able to obtain 1 to 2 million base pairs of ancient nuclear DNA form a tooth and a leg bone.

In an article on the discovery by Ann Gibbons, she says “Researchers at the meeting were impressed by this breakthrough in ancient DNA research. ‘This has been the next frontier with ancient DNA,’ says evolutionary biologist Greger Larson of the University of Oxford in the UK.”

Our search for our heritage, for our individual ancestry, has led to a demand for DNA tests to shed light on our past. People look for both recent lineage, 2-10 generations, and much further back. Unlike the study mentioned above, some DNA tests are available to anyone who wants to test their own DNA. Ancestrybydna.com offers DNA tests that let you know what part of the world your ancient relatives lived, by breaking the world into four main population groups.

Look for the study of the Sima de los Huesos bones to continue, and for new fossils to be found around the world. With the advances in DNA testing and technology, questions will be answered, and the theories of evolution will continue to be debated.

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Finding Loved Ones with the Help of DNA

Grandmother Reunited

Grandmother Reunited

With the help of DNA testing, relatives can be found using many different testing techniques. Grandparents can find grandchildren. Adoptive parents can find children. Loved ones can use many tools to search for and find who they think could be relatives—court documents, hospital records, etc. But the reunion may not be cause for celebration until DNA can prove the relationship.

The story of Argentinian grandmothers using DNA to identify stolen children was told recently in Smithsonian.com. Over 30 years ago, Argentina was embroiled in a military dictatorship and “a brutal reign of terror that resulted in the disappearance of up to 30,000 people who were abducted, tortured and killed. Many children were disappeared or born after their mothers were raped in prison, and then adopted by childless couples in the military and police forces.”

In 1977, a group of grandmothers formed a group called Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, or Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Their goal—find over 400 stolen children. To date, they have identified 117. As early as the 1980’s, they pushed for a DNA database to be established for their search. In May of 1987, the National DNA Data Bank (BNDG) was created, and began to operate in 1987.

For this kind of program to be successful, support and DNA from each side of the search is imperative—both from Grandparents and parents, as well as the children, now in their 30’s. Next, DNA technology needs to be applied as it becomes available. For example, Y-STR testing can be used to trace male lineage, while mitochondrial DNA can trace female lineage. Each passes only through male or female relatives, and can only be found though very unique DNA testing processes.

DNA testing companies are often contacted with the request of finding a loved one. There might be the hope that there is a large database of people that one can link to, but this is not the case. The FBI has CODIS in the U.S., but this is not a shared database. Projects like the one in Argentina are very unique, but can provide reunions through advanced DNA testing. If the people that are trying to establish a biological relationship are available for testing, databases aren’t needed. A DNA testing laboratory like DDC that has many different testing techniques can offer a free consultation, as well as testing options.

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Are Mouth Swabs Effective for Collecting DNA?

A closeup view of photographic lens

Swabs are very effective for collecting DNA

Yes! Mouth swabs are not only effective for collecting DNA, they are the standard for many applications, including paternity testing, forensic testing, and many kinds of DNA identification. The cells collected from the mouth, preferably cheek cells, slough off in great quantity, and can be stored very easily.

If you’re in your 40’s, you might remember when blood was the only way to collect and find DNA. If there was a crime scene, the detectives needed blood—and hopefully a lot of it—to get a DNA profile. In paternity testing, blood was collected from each party, even infants, in order to compare DNA profiles.

Today, that’s all changed. Technology has changed, from a system called “RFLP” to one called “PCR,” and with that change, much smaller amounts of DNA is needed for DNA testing. In the PCR process, DNA is duplicated millions of times, so a little DNA can turn into a lot of DNA! With this change, a few hundred cells from the inside of cheek can be plenty to establish a DNA profile.

Here are some examples of programs that have been established to collect DNA profiles that you may not know about:

  • Military personnel. Those that join the military will have their DNA collected right when they join. It can be used to identify bodies when necessary.
  • Prisoner Inmates. Some want ever person arrested to have their DNA collected, thinking most people that are arrested are repeat offenders, and more crimes can be solved using the federal database.p. Those that enter prison will have their DNA collected, often to compare their DNA to federal databases to link them to other crimes. The federal DNA database is called CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System.
  • Paternity Testing. States programs collect thousands of DNA samples every month for paternity testing for child support. DNA can now be collected very easily with cheek swabs, rather than blood samples.
    • The use of cheek swabs for DNA collection for has made it possible to even collect DNA at home, creating a new kind of paternity test, where people can find out who the father is without going through the state.

Mouth swabs that collect cheek cells are a very effective way to collect DNA. When dry, these swabs can be stored for decades, and the DNA can still be tested. With simple instructions, anyone can rub a swab on the inside of a cheek and collect enough DNA for a paternity test or any other DNA test. The swabs are not only effective, but they are THE chosen method by most state and federal agencies that collect DNA.

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DNA: The Hard Drive of the Future?

DNA Test Strands

DNA Test Strands

DNA – The Hard Drive of the Future?

Last week in Boston, a team of scientists presented findings to the American Chemical Society (ASC). The concept of storing large amounts of data in a small space, and having that vessel be preserved for thousands of years, seems challenging. Until you think about how the cells in our body, through our unique DNA code, is doing just that.

“A little after the discovery of the double helix architecture of DNA, people figured out that the coding language of nature is very similar to the binary language we use in computers,” says Robert Grass, Ph.D. of ETH Zurich. “on a hard drive, we use 0s and 1s to represent data, and in DNA, we have four nucleotides, A, C, T and G.”

The Swiss researchers reported they have developed a technique for storing text, images, and video for thousands of years, coded into DNA and imbedded in glass spheres. Their study suggests data could be stored for 2,000 years, much longer than the average hard drive or cd.

DNA has advantages to hard drives: size and durability. Today’s wallet-sized external hard dives can store terabytes of data, and may last 50 years. In theory, a teaspoon of DNA could store over 300,000 terabytes, and from research on fossils and archaeological finds, scientists have found DNA that has survived for hundreds of thousands of years.

Data stored today has the convenience of simple retrieval. Data on a strand of DNA does not—yet. Silica based storage used today has the benefit of being very cheap, where synthesizing DNA was about $12,400 in 2013 for each megabyte of data, but that is coming down quickly.

Right now the researchers see the biggest benefit of this type of storage in preserving large amounts of data and images, perhaps for future generations. This may include important government and cultural information, but a major application may in fact be the storage of data generated by scientific projects.

Grass says, if it were up to him, he would take snapshots of the ever-evolving Wikipedia, for example, to preserve its various iterations so they’re not lost forever as users make edits.

The parallel between the storage capacity of our DNA and the storage capacity of today’s technology is interesting. Our DNA is natural, as is the DNA in plants and every living organism. The race to store the exponentially increasing amount of data we generate now has a new finish line—a target. To develop technology that can match the already amazing storage device that each of us has developed in every living cell in our body—that of our DNA.

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Navigating DNA Testing in Immigration Cases

happy mother and daughter piggyback“DNA testing has become the gold standard for immigration cases based on genetic family relationships much as it has for other areas of law such as family or criminal justice.” This is the introduction to a new article (as titled above) on DNA testing in Immigration cases, published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, or AILA.

The article’s authors include Dr. Michael Baird, laboratory director of DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), which provides AABB accredited DNA testing services for immigration and other types of cases. As a member of the AABB for more than 20 years, Dr. Baird has served as char of the Relationship Testing Standards Program Unit, and currently serves as a member of the Molecular Testing Standards Committee of the AABB.

The article focuses on the fact that DNA testing is currently used by government agencies to establish relationships for those seeking immigration, and that guidance and laws around the use of DNA testing has not evolved perhaps as fast as the science itself.

“DNA is not listed as primary or secondary evidence of a family relationship…the ombudsman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommended adding DNA testing as primary evidence of a family relationship,” and concluded that “Family reunification is a pillar of U.S. immigration policy. USCIS must be able to verify, and its customers must be able to establish, that the claimed family relationships that constitute the basis of eligibility for immigration benefits are legitimate.”

The article goes on to acknowledge that even though DNA testing is now common, and requires only a saliva swab rather than a blood sample, the guidance from USCIS and other agencies still leaves it as a last resort. Cases begin with paperwork—documents of evidence. It can take months to for the USCIS or DOS to process these supportive documents, and if in the end the adjudicating officer is not satisfied, he or she can “suggest DNA testing and direct applicants to a list of authorized laboratories to use.”

The overwhelming majority of immigration DNA tests are straightforward and provide definitive answers, in the form of establishing a biological relationship, or disproving such relationship. Dr. Baird and DDC perform hundreds of AABB accredited immigration DNA tests monthly.

In some cases, where close biological relationships exist (brothers, twins, cousins), it can be “very difficult to discern which one is the biological father because they may share many alleles. In families involving marriage amongst blood relatives (or “consanguineous” relationships), relatives may share an even greater number of alleles.” Alleles are the genetic markers used in DNA testing.

Further evidence of rare cases mentioned in the article are those of genetic mutations, mosaicism, and chimerism—a situation where a person has more than one complete genome in their body. These cases are very rare, and only a few labs in the U.S. are equipped to identify such cases.

For more on Immigration DNA testing, and how your testing can be expedited by the experts at DDC, call today for a free consultation.

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Grandparent DNA Test

What You Should Know About the Grandparent DNA Test

Sometimes establishing paternity is not as easy as it sounds. If the possible father is simply not available for testing, a simple “grandparentage” DNA test can be performed by a DNA testing lab with the experience in that type of analysis. The test will show whether or not is a child is related to the grandparents—the suspected father’s parents—and thereby help to establish the identity of their father (or mother, if that is what’s needed).

Reasons to Take a Grandparent DNA Test

Many grandparents initiate this test because they are concerned that they might not be the actual biological grandparents of child/children! They are concerned, and simply want to know the truth. Being a grandparent requires emotional and financial support for many years, and if there is a question about the paternity of a grandchild, the grandparents want to know for sure. There are other reasons why a DNA test may be necessary; there may be legal issues in which their parentage needs to be established.

The test is most accurate when there are two grandparents to test—both parents of the possible father. In the absence of one grandparent, the test can still be administered. However, the results may not be as conclusive as they need to be to establish paternity and or maternity.

Reasons to know paternity include:

  • Health concerns
  • Death of potential father
  • Custody issues
  • Heritage and inheritance concerns
  • Questionable paternity of child

The Test Can Help to Protect Grandparent Rights

As a paternal grandparent, you really don’t know whether your grandkids are truly yours. Although you love and cherish each child, nothing can replace the reassurance you get from knowing for sure if those children are biologically related to you or not. Fortunately, you now have the option to request a grandparentage DNA test to learn the facts.

Even though it is within your right to request a DNA test, there may be some reasons why the child’s mother refuses to allow it. You can petition the courts for the test to be administered. The test can be administered for private or legal purposes, and is quick, easy and painless and only takes a few minutes to collect the DNA from each person.

Contact us to make arrangements for a grandparentage DNA test today. A kind, experienced representative from DDC will be happy to explain the details with a simple phone call.

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Avoiding Delays in Immigration: Accredited DNA Relationship Testing

Avoiding Delays in the Immigration Process

Immigration is a long, challenging, yet critical endeavor for those in the process. Choosing the right partners to provide DNA Relationship Testing can help you avoid delays in the Immigration process.

Immigration has been a hot topic around the U.S. for a while now. Many people feel strongly in favor of stricter immigration laws. In spite of many laws being passed in an effort to make the process simpler and more streamlined, it is still difficult for some people to get the approval they are seeking without jumping through some challenging hoops.

For example, in order to stay for an extended period of time in the U.S., visitors from a foreign country are generally required to have a visa. One way that you may qualify for a visa is if you can prove your family relationship to a U.S. citizen that you are visiting through reliable DNA testing. When you are getting DNA testing for immigration, it is important to choose an accredited laboratory to perform the test.

Why Does Accreditation Matter?

The American Association of Blood Blanks (AABB) has established strict standards and protocols regarding DNA testing. When laboratories meet and exceed these standards and protocols, they may be granted AABB accreditation. Because immigration is such a critical issue and there are so many laws regarding who can visit and for how long, having your DNA test processed by an accredited laboratory is the best way to have your results accepted during your application process. Let along that many government offices REQUIRE AABB accreditation for test results. Test results from a lab that is not accredited may be thrown out, making the lengthy process take even longer as you seek another laboratory to perform another test.

Be Selective Regarding Your Testing Laboratory

When ordering a test to establish a family relationship, it’s okay to be selective. There is a list of AABB accredited laboratories across the U.S. that makes it easier to find the nearest accredited laboratory to perform your test. DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) is one such accredited lab in many different states. BUT BE AWARE: being AABB accredited does not mean that a lab is equipped to perform the many tasks that go along with Immigration testing—the paperwork, forms, processes, etc.

Get It Done Right the First Time

It’s easier to avoid mishaps and delays in the immigration process when you have your DNA relationship test performed the right way the first time. Consult the AABB accredited list of laboratories to find the laboratory near you, or call DDC for more information. DDC representatives are EXPERTS in Immigration DNA testing—with one call, they can guide you through the entire process.

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Why Fathers Should Consider a Legal DNA Paternity Test

Having a child means a whole new world of responsibility that some people may not be ready for. Ready or not, when your baby is born into the world, you are a parent. There is often little doubt as to who the father of a child is when a couple is married. Most times, in the eyes of the law, when a child is born by married parents, it’s assumed the child is biologically related to the parents. But if a divorce should happen, or if the couple was never married in the first place, and child support is on the table, fathers should give serious consideration to a legal DNA paternity test from a reliable laboratory, such as DNA Diagnostics Center, to validate their paternity.

Separations and Divorces Are Tough for Many Reasons

Even an amicable divorce is tough emotionally for all of the parties involved. Depending on the details of your case, the fidelity of your spouse may be in question, which could also question the true paternity of your children. Many fathers have little doubt in their minds, but studies show that up to 30% of fathers have some doubt. You want to ensure that your children are given the best care possible throughout a separation, as it is just as hard on them—or harder, in some cases—as it is on you and your spouse.

Avoiding False Child Support

 One of the most important reasons for a legal DNA test is that fathers do not have to pay child support for children that are not theirs. If there is any reason to suspect a child is not yours, especially in cases where the couple was not married and had multiple sexual partners, then a legal DNA test can help to prove or disprove paternity. And the proof is then presented in a report that is admissible in court. However, you need to make sure that a reliable, AABB accredited, court-trusted laboratory, such as DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), performs the test. This way, the results can actually be used in your legal case. The difference is in the way the DNA is collected, with all the DNA being collected by a third party, after all ID has been verified. It may sound difficult, but experts like DDC make if very simple.

 Husbands and Fathers Deserve to Be Protected, Too

 Some fathers choose to continue to care for children they have helped to raise regardless of paternity test results. However, husbands and fathers deserve to be protected from fraudulent child support claims. DDC can provide legal DNA paternity tests to help with your child support case. A simple phone call is all it takes, as they help hundreds of parents get help every day.

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