Testing something other than a mouth swab for DNA

DNA Testing Experts offers clients an option of discreetly testing another person’s DNA without alerting them. Perhaps the person whose DNA you want to test is unwilling or unavailable to submit their DNA or you don’t want them to know you are testing their DNA you can submit DNA samples other than mouth swabs from the persons in question to us for testing and comparison using alternative DNA samples other than a buccal mouth swab.

If you wish to send in a DNA sample that is not a mouth swab, which is also referred to as an alternative sample or a non-standard sample, some samples have a higher success rate than others for providing usable DNA for testing. There is a possibility that the non-standard samples sent in to us will not have enough usable DNA to obtain a genetic profile but if the alternative sample does have enough viable DNA to test then we can compare it against another DNA profile to determine relationships such as paternity, grandparent, avuncular, sibling and maternity or other relationship partners if this is for infidelity DNA testing.

Standard mouth swabs provide the highest success rate for providing usable DNA samples. Non-standard, alternative DNA samples such as hair, ear wax, chewing gum, cigarette butts and toothbrushes, fingernail clippings etc. have different success rate levels in providing viable DNA suitable for testing.

Below is a chart showing the different success rate percentages of alternative samples for providing viable DNA.


alternative dna samples

non-standard dna sample testing

Reasons For Using Alternative DNA Samples for Testing

  • In a situation where the person in question is either unwilling, unavailable, missing or deceased you can send in items of theirs that may contain their DNA on it for testing.
  • You have exhausted your efforts to convince the persons you wish to test of the necessity of finding out the truth and having peace of mind to no avail. We hear this scenario quite often and sympathize with your situation.
  • When it would be awkward or emotionally hurtful to the person you are wishing to test and you don’t want them to know you are testing them you can send in items of theirs for discreet DNA testing.
  • When you suspect a mother has not been telling the truth about who the real father is.


Frequently Asked Questions About Alternative DNA Sample Testing

If the alternative sample you provided contains usable DNA that the lab technicians can extract for testing then the results would be the same as using the DNA from a mouth swab. Please see the chart to the left on the success rate percentage for extracting viable DNA from various types of alternative samples.

Unfortunately no. With legal DNA testing there needs to be written consent from all testing parties (or legal guardians), photo identification and a third party Certified DNA Collector to both witness and perform the collection. Non-standard samples are collected discreetly with no chain of custody and none of the requirements listed above so samples collected in that manner cannot be used in court.

While the lab will make every effort to obtain usable DNA from the alternative DNA samples sent in to them a lot of the success will depend on the quality and integrity of the DNA sample itself.

As previously mentioned non-standard samples have differing success rates on providing viable DNA suitable for testing. Some of the additional factors that can affect the quality and integrity of a DNA sample are:

  • Temperature extremes.
  • Moisture issues causing mold or bacteria to degrade the sample (from using a plastic bag to store the samples)
  • Sample contamination from improper handling or contact with other DNA.
  • Too little DNA from the sample provided (e.g. hair root with the bulb attached vs. a cut piece of hair from the tips)

Our laboratory technicians make every effort and multiple attempts at obtaining usable DNA with every non-standard sample they test. If there is viable DNA on the alternative sample sent in they will find it.

In most cases the processing time is the same. Sometimes there are cases that require more time to process if the lab technicians are having a hard time finding usable DNA and are having to make multiple attempts to find viable DNA for testing. In these situations the additional processing time is usually within a 24-48 hours range.