Despite high accuracy of currently employed DNA testing technique, there lies scope of error due to limited genetic information accessible via current technologies. Such errors can have serious impact on the lives of individuals.
To address this, a new technology has shown to reduce the possibility of false associations and find wide use, said an associate of the study. A study carried out for the purpose reviewed worldwide practices to evaluate the potential of errors.
“Of the millions of cases tested globally, tens of thousands have been falsely interpreted,” said the author of the study. The study points out existing issues of paternity testing that have occurred over many years. Some of the errors of current testing techniques are unrelated individuals are falsely inferred as biological relatives, and biological relatives are falsely concluded as not being related.
For the study, the team used a realistic model. This is to estimate how tens of thousands of cases wrongly interpreted over the past two decades. Due to limitations of current technology, it requires improvements.
STR Technology remains unchanged since introduced
Meanwhile, DNA testing via STR-based technology is the gold standard for long for familial relationship verification, such as missing person identification, civil and criminal paternity tests, and kinship verification with international migration. Worldwide, the testing is used for forensics to distinguish between the donors of biological evidence found at the crime site.
Since the introduction of STR markers for DNA testing in late 1990s, there has not been dramatic improvements in the technique.
“Earlier, in the beginning, only a few STRs were used. This rose to 20 to 23, which is used now.”
Whilst the chance of mistake with STR technology is small, however, due to the sheer magnitude of testing, errors are not common.