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Definition of Honor By dnalady On 2012-11-17

Definition of Honor

 

A soldier is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "Citizens of His/Her Country"

for an amount of "Up to and Including My Life."

That is Honor,

and we "citizens" need to understand their sacrifice for our way of life.

The above is a cut and paste, of one of those emails I received, that I thought worth highlighting again. Honor comes in many forms, but never moreso than as sacrifice of oneself for the safety or betterment of others.

41% of children today are born to single parents, irrespective of what the relationship will be between the two biological parents, everyone of those 41% have the right to know who their biological parents are.  Not all families want to appear on national TV or in front of a family judge, to confirm paternity.  There are private DNA collection facilities all over, that can conveniently and discreetly collect DNA samples from alleged fathers and children, and confirm paternity to everyone involved, so that the child has both bio-parents, as well as extended involved in his/her life.

Honor, is also stepping up to your responsibilities, the best you can and without regard to yourself. 

 
DNA Terminology 101 (Part 2) By dnalady On 2011-12-05

What's all this DNA stuff? Here are some useful terms you may hear when you are having a DNA test performed to determine a family or biological relationship.

Apoptosis - the programmed death of cells.  It is a mechanism of the organism to maintain a relative constance and normal number of cells.  It also includes a cascade of biological processes tht result to the death of a cell, when it is seriously damaged or infected by a virus.

Adipocyte is the main type of cell that compose adipose tissue and are also known as fat cells, or lipocytes.  Their main function is to store energy in the form of fat. 

DNA - Deoxyribonucleic Acid - this is the biologic substance found in the nucleus of cells of all human beings.  DNA, inherited from a biological parent, is the basis of our heredity or ancestry.  DNA contains the code from which all our physical characteristics are determined as well as the instructions for making living organisms.  A single strand of DNA is composed of four different chemicals - Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C) and Guanine (G). 

Chromosome - these are groups of the DNA molecules found in a cell that are held together by the above four proteins.(ATCG)  Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes but all are created at conception, arranged in pairs and consist of one set of  chromosomes inherited from the mother (mtDNA) and the other from the father (Y-DNA).  Humans have 23 sets of chromosomes - one pair will decide the sex of the child (XX)Female and (XY)Male.  These are the thread-like symbols you see in your Biology books. 

Y-Chromosome - the genetic material passed from father to son at conception.  The Y-chromosome is passed unchanged except for the rare defining mutations. 

Buccal Swab - the method by which a majority of DNA collections are performed today.  A large cotton tipped swab is swabbed against the inside of the cheek using gentle pressure in order to collect enough cells (not saliva) to amplify under the PCR method. 

Haplogroups - anthropologists study of population genetics and the mutations that occurred during migration and geographic manifestations.  The use of Short Tandem Repeat markers predicts or estimates one's Haplogroup to be within18 categories and 80 additional sub-groups and clades.  The STR marker is only an estimate. 

Mitochondrial DNA - the genetic material passed from mother to all of her offspring, save for a rare mutation that may occur in some instances. 

Mutation
- a genetic inconsistency occurring naturally in all living organisms.  This is a permanent structural alteration in our DNA.  Mutations, may or may not, improve an organism's chance of survival.   In speaking of genetic mutations, the reference is no way relates to abnormal medical conditions or gene functions. 

Genotype - describes the constitution of a gene (the type of the gene).  It refers each time to a specific gene, under investigation, describing the alleles that the gene contains.  It often refers to the pair of the nucleotides found at a specific position of the DNA sequence. 

Genetic Marker - a segment of DNA with an identifiable physical location on a chromosome and whose inheritance can be followed.  A marker can be a gene, or it can be some section of DNA with no known function.  Because DNA segments that lie near each other on a  chromosome tend to be inherited together, markers are often used as indirect ways of tracking the inheritance pattern of a gene that has not yet been identified, but whose approximate location is known. 

Allele - one of the forms of a gene at a particular location on a chromosome.  Different alleles produce various inherited characteristics, such as eye color, hair color or blood type.  Individuals have dominant and recessive forms of alleles.  Do not use the on-line eye color charts as proof of biological relationships - these are absolutely not reliable as they do not take into consideration naturally occurring mutations that have been passed on.
 

Amino Acid - components of proteins.  Some are synthesized by the body (non essential amino acids) and others must e obtained through diet (essential amino acids)

Carbohydrate - is a compound of cargon, hydrogen an doxygen.  It is an important source of energy found in food. 

Cholesterol is the waxy, fat-like substance essential for the structure of cell membrane.  It is also a component of certain hormones and some Vitamins and is transported with lipproteins through blood circulation.

Chromatin is the combination of DNA an dproteins which when condensed makes up chomosomes. 

Enzymes is a protein that controls biochemical reactions, resulting in either production or inactivation of substances in cells.

Glucose is a very important carbohydrate in biological systems.  It is used by cells as a course of energy and is also an intermediate of metabolism.

Homeostasis is a state of equilibrium (balance) or the tendency to reach equilibrium. It is the ability of a living organism to regulate its internal environment in order to maintain a stable condition.

Homocysteine is an amino acid, important for the production of another amino acid call  Cysteine.  Homocysteine metabolism and maintenance of normal levels is crucial for the health, as elevated homocysteine levels in blood is associated primarily with problems of the cardiovascular system. 

Mutagen is an agent which can cause change in the genetic material of an organism.

Oxidative stress is caused in cells due to their reduced ability to fight against oxidative factors, which are substances like peroxides and free radicals.  Whether caused by normal functions of cells, or produced by environmental toxins - both can have toxic effects as t hey can damage seriously the components of cells (proteins, lipids, DNA).

Pharmacogenomics is the field of Pharmacology and Genetics, which investigates how the DNA of individuals affects their response to drugs.  Based on DNA testing, it aims to identify which drugs have increased efficacy or cause reduced toxicity to an individual. 

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) - this is the process by which copies of our specific DNA segments are made from a DNA sample.  In a DNA Paternity test, DNA are amplified so they can be analyzed to determine whether the alleged father and tested child have common loci (position of a gene on a chromosome), supporting the existence of a biological relationship.  This process has been extensively used for paternity testing.  Large databases have been accumulated for accurate DNA analysis.  This large database enables paternity testing via PCR to have the highest power of exclusion. 

Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) - this is process that relies on the genetic uniqueness of an individuals to determine a biological relationship to another individual.  No two persons (except for identical twins) have the same DNA.  A DNA sample is treated with specific enzymes to create fragments.  The size of the fragments are then measured and statistically analyzed.  If too many fragments do not have a match, the a biological relationship is considered excluded or not possible.  This technique increased the power of the exclusion of biological relationships to 99.99 % and greater. 

VO2 - maximal oxygen consumption, describing the amount of oxygen transported and used during physicla exercise of individuals.  It is an important factor for physical fitness. 

Xenobiotic is a chemical found in an organism bit it is not normally produced by it nor obtrain by diet.  Drugs and antibiotics are examples of xenobiotics.

History of DNA Testing for Paternity
1920s Blood Type - identifying one blood type only and ability to exclude only 30% of the population - not useful or conclusive in proving paternity.
1930s Blood Groups - measured inherited proteins in the blood and ability to exclude 40% of the population - not useful or conclusive in proving paternity.
1970s HLA Typing - cannot differentiate between related alleged fathers (brothers, uncles, grandfathers) and but had the ability to exclude 80% of the population.  The test required a large amount of blood from all participants and was therefore not used on infants younger than 6 months.
1980s RFLP  - ability to exclude 99.99% of the populations
1990s PCR - ability to exclude 99.99% of the population and oral swab method preferred.  This is the method by which we perform our DNA Tests in New Jersey *732-632-8830*

 

 
Standards for AABB Accredited DNA Testing By admin On 2010-07-20

On January 1, 2010, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) released its 9th Edition of Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories.  The continued updating and renewal of such accreditation is a testament to the need for national standards for all DNA Tests.  How many times do I hear that someone used one of those over the counter, local drug store kits and just are not comfortable or convinced of the results.  To add to kit-user's frustration, there is no one to speak to directly for interpretation of the over the counter, do it yourself DNA kits.  The frustrated consumer has paid over $150 in some instances, and is left with the same doubt as when they purchased the DNA kits.    

 

The 9th Edition of the AABB's Standards for Relationship Testing laboratories, clearly states that all collection materials must be sent to a proper DNA collection facility or witness.  Collection materials may not be in possession of the parties to be tested, before or after the DNA collection.

The new edition prohibits the selling of home test kits or sending kits to tested parties.  This further prohibits tested parties from collecting their own DNA.  In New Jersey, a court admissible DNA test can be done by simply calling your local DNA collector and set up a convenient time for testing.  Be sure to bring proper identification, such as, current driver's license, military id, passports, residence cards - any picture identification that is issued by a U.S. government entity.  Also, for purposes of Immigration, have all the contact information readily available for your beneificiary.  If you are doing a Paternity Test or other family relationship test for court purposes, your identification will be photocopied, you will be photographed and fingerprinted.  If in the future your lawyer needs to access your file, he/she will have access to a file that is considered Legally Admissible.  Your local DNA collector will follow a Chain of Custody so that your results are acceptable in court. 

 

 

 
DNA Testing using AABB Accredited Facility By admin On 2010-07-19

 

Private DNA Collection facilities receive phone calls all day about DNA Tests, what is the process, how long will it take, does the mother need to be present, what is the accuracy of our tests and in today's economy, one key question is always - How Much Does A DNA Cost?

The most experienced sales person or telemarketer can steer any phone call away from price as a selling point to a need based purchase.  However, the customer asking about DNA Testing already knows this is a needs-based purchase so the best method to complete the sale is to assure them of the accuracy and reliability of the DNA tests.  With the availability of do it yourself DNA kits - why should a family come to a "brick and mortar" office and have the collection performed?  The main reason is because private DNA collection experts,  have been doing DNA collections for a long time and will follow a strict chain of custody on all samples, assuring accuracy and reliability of the results from collection to sample receipt at the laboratory to results delivery to the consumer. 

Another good reason is that most consumers (unless you have a biology degree) are not familiar with the bells and whistlers of the Paternity tests results sheet.  What is an allele, what does the paternity index mean, what is an amelogin, what is the local law regarding the probability of paternity percentage, how many exclusions does a lab use to determine non-relationship status.  Once you receive the DNA tests results, having someone to talk directly to about the DNA results is reassuring.  If you use the OTC DNA tests, the customer service operators are not personally familiar with your case and the circumstances.  Whereas had you been collected by a local, private DNA collector, the circumstances are familiar to the DNA collector and you have someone to speak to directly, by phone or in person to assure you about the test. 

Of course, a major consideration on using a private DNA collector is the amount of accreditation their laboratories have achieved.  The minimum accreditation for family relationship testing should be the American Association of Blood Banks or AABB.  A laboratory that advertises AABB accreditation will have the following practices in place:

  • Quality and Management System
  • Regular Internal and External Audits
  • Regular Proficiency Testing of DNA analysts (**)
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Stringent Qualifications for Staff
  • Use of Validated Methods
  • Duplicate Testing of Exclusions
  • Continuing Education for Staff
  • Regular Calibration of Laboratory Equipment (**)
  • Record Retention Requirements
  • Confidentiality Polices


  I like to tell my callers, that using our laboratories vs. an internet kit, is laking to the difference between having a Ph.d or a high school student interpret your DNA tests.  Our Ph.d will have access to equipment that is the "mercedes" of industry standards vs. the "rent a wreck" of industry standard equipment.  Non-accredited laboratories do not have to follow industry standards.  Think about the investment into the staff and equipment that an accredited laboratory has to maintain. 

The results of DNA tests are life changing - you want to be sure that DNA analysis is performed by someone who is properly trained on the most current methods of interpreting results, has access to the best database interpreting mutations and using equipment that is 21st century

As with every industry, it is Buyer Beware and having a local DNA office to return to for questions and follow up is comforting to most families. 

 
Understanding Paternity Testing Results By dnalady On 2010-05-29

The paternity test results will show the allele (see DNA Dictionary for explanation of allele) size for the parties who participated in the test.  When mother, alleged father and child are included in the DNA paternity test, the alleles that the child received from the biological father (called the obligate paternal alleles) can be determined by subtracting the mother's contribution to the child's DNA.  If the alleged father does not have the obligate paternal alleles at three or more loci, he is excluded as the biological father of the child.  If only a child and alleged father are tested, and they do not share any common alleles at three or more loci, the alleged father is also excluded.  When the alleged father contains the obligate paternal alleles at the loci tested, then he is not excluded as the biological father of the child. 

There are cases, where test results show a non-match for one or two loci.  This may indicate mutations which will require additional analysis but it may also indicate that a close biological relative of the tested alleged father (such as a brother, father or son) may actually be the biological father of the child.  Additional calculations can be performed to help address this possibility.  However, it is best to have all possible alleged fathers tested to establish the true biological father.  DNA testing facilities can offer you Paternity Testing with additional samples prices so that anyone thought to be the alleged father can be tested.  Talk to your local DNA expert about the circumstances of your case, so that discretion is used during the actual collection.

The final results will indicate the Probability of Paternity expressed as a percentage.  This percentage is called Paternity Index (PI).  The PI is calculated  using a "prior probability of paternity" of 0.5 in the calculation  This prior probability is a neutral value (without bias) that assumes the alleged father is as equally likely to be as he is not to be the child's biological father.  A DNA test results iwth 0% PI means that the alleged father is excluded, or cannot be the biological father.  A PI of 99% and above means that the alleged father is most likely the biological father.   


 
DNA Tests are a Useful Tool in Society By dnalady On 2010-05-29


DNA Tests are a Useful Tool in Society You might not have cause to think about it, but there are several useful things that paternity testing does for society.

Beyond the obvious implications of clearly marking the biological relationship between a child and a man, between grandparents and grandchild there are other applications for this derivative of DNA testing that serves society well. It is Immigration DNA Testing that proves beyond a doubt that a U.S. resident is truly sponsoring a family member not just someone with similar birth certificates and family names. Now the science has become so widespread and accurate, there are embassies all over the world that are putting the procedures to the test when it comes to deciding who they will allow into their respective countries. (Call 732-632-8820 for a list of Embassies) Immigration DNA testing is especially helpful when there is one family member that has gone on before others that want to follow. With the right remote sample collection facilities, samples can be gathered and determinations made as to who has relatives that are living in which country when applications are being made.

The U.S. laboratory typically sends the results directly to the U.S. Embassy in that particular country to expedite the reunification process. And although we all look at this as a thoroughly modern science, the truth is the study of DNA and how we inherit specific traits from those that are related to us dates back to the 1800s. The genetic profiles of plant hybrids that were done were seen at the time as revolutionary. Indeed, they even revolutionized the popular thinking about genetics at the time and the book called Experiments With Plants Hybrids is still considered one of the most influential works on the subject today. Modern Science Advancements were made to the point where the science of DNA testing has several different derivatives today.

Of course that the top of that list is paternity testing, and there are enough facilities where the test can conducted today that there's a need to know what to look for in the right paternity testing facility. So there is a quick checklist that you can refer to when you're looking for a place that will give you the best results and at the top of the list of the things that you need to look for is accreditation. This means that you'll need to be sure that the DNA Collection Facility that you entrust with the samples to be processed has all the right credentials according to the specific health departments. The minimum amount of accreditation should include American Association of Blood Banks, College of American Pathology, American Society of Crime Laboratories, NY State Department of Health, Clinical Improvement Amendments as distributed by the US Department of Health. These accrediting institutions measure the quality standards used in DNA testing lab providing family relationship testing. Paternity testing has become one of the ways that families can sponsor and get reunited with children and/or their parents. This derivative of DNA testing has become part of our social network.

 
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