Journey Genetic Testing

Alternative DNA Samples

Alternative Samples For DNA Testing

Discreet Options For DNA Testing

If you want to do a DNA test without the other person knowing, you can use Journey Genetic Testing’s discreet DNA testing option. This special process helps you feel more at ease in such situations. First, we collect DNA samples from the people involved without using a buccal swab. After that, we send these samples to our lab for comparison.

Some items are better than others for finding DNA to test. We often use alternative DNA samples for our testing. These include things like hair, fingernail clippings, ear wax swabs, toothbrushes, cigarette butts, and chewing gum. However, there are additional steps we need to take during this process.

Before we can conduct regular testing on these types of items, our lab must perform a viability test. This test helps us determine if there is enough DNA on the item for regular testing. Due to the requirement for this initial test, there is an extra testing fee of $100 for non-standard samples.

When Should I Use Alternative DNA Samples For A DNA Testing?

  • The possible father is unavailable for a paternity test, and you have something that you believe has his DNA on it.
  • You want to do a sibling DNA test, an avuncular DNA test, or a grandparent DNA test, and want to keep the testing secret.
  • There is a DNA sample from a deceased, or missing, person that you want to test.
  • Finally, the child you want to test may be older, and you don’t want them to know that their paternity is in question.

Can The Lab Get DNA From Anything I Send?

We cannot promise that we will find DNA on every item you send to us.. However, we do guarantee that if what you send does have enough DNA to test, we can do the DNA test. Then we can then use the results to determine paternity, maternity, sibling, grandparent, and avuncular relationships.

Here Are The Average Success Rates For Various DNA Samples

DNA SampleCommentsSuccess Rate
Buccal/cotton swabSwab the cheek inside the mouth and let it dry.99.99%
Whole bloodMedical blood tube drawn in medical grade tube99.99%
Blood stainsBand-aids, tampons, bloody tissues90%
SemenSwab from condom, undergarments, clothing, etc.90%
Used tissueNasal mucus. Put the tissue in a paper envelope.80%
HairAt least 5–7 strands of hair with the roots attached.80%
ToothbrushPlace the toothbrush in a paper envelope.80%
Dental flossDo not touch with your fingers. Place this into a paper envelope.75%
Nail clippingsNail clippings should store in a paper envelope.75%
Ear waxWax on a cotton swab. Put the swab in a paper envelope.65%
Chewing gumSugar-free is preferable, stored in foil gum wrapper.50%
Cigarette buttsPut 3 to 5 butts that you do not touch with fingers into a paper envelope.50%

Often Asked Questions About Alternative DNA Specimens

Are You Able To Perform Discreet DNA Testing?

Yes. Any sample other than a mouth swab is classified as a non-standard or alternative DNA sample. With discreet DNA testing, you may choose to secretly test someone by using and sending us samples such as hair, fingernail clippings, ear wax swabs, toothbrush, cigarette butts, chewing gum, and more. While we cannot guarantee that DNA will be present in the sample you provide to us, if it does contain DNA, we can use it to determine paternity, maternity, sibling, grandparent, or avuncular relationships between you and your loved one.

How Accurate Is Testing Using Alternative Samples?

As long as the lab technicians are able to obtain a DNA profile from the sample, the results as just as accurate as a mouth swab. Using a higher number of genetic markers to test each person allows us to issue testing results that are 100% accurate based on the profiles generated.

Can I Do A DNA Test Using Hair?

We often get requests for DNA testing with hair. This is because hair samples are so easy to come by, and can be easily and discretely collected. But it is not so simple and straightforward.

Any hair that have fallen out of the body will not be suitable. This is because we need each strand of hair you send to have the root (the “bulb” at the end) attached. If the strands of hair do not have the root, we cannot extract DNA. We need a minimum of 6 strands of hair. If you do happen to have some hair samples, take a close look to see whether you can identify a little white ball at the end of each hair – this is the hair follicle.

If you send a brush with hair still in it, we will not be able to test it. We need to have the individual strands placed in a paper envelope.

Please make certain when you put the hair in the envelope that you do not touch the end of the hair with your fingers. If you can use a glove when handling the hair, that is preferred.

Can You Guarantee You Can Get DNA From What I Send?

Using a non-standard sample does not ensure that a DNA profile will be obtained. This is because we have no way to determine the quality of the sample prior to receiving it.

However, it is not just the type of sample that is important but also other variables such as :

– Poor storage conditions (e.g. damp environment, extreme heat or cold, etc).
– Poor sample handling (possible contamination with other DNA or dirt).
– Not enough DNA present (e.g. heavily used toothbrush vs used once only).

In every situation, our laboratory technicians are trained to put in their best efforts. They will make multiple attempts to obtain a usable genetic profile with every DNA sample they test.

Can I Do A Legal DNA Test With Non-Standard Samples?

In most cases, no. Alternative samples are typically provided for discreet testing and therefore are usually not suitable for use in court.

Sometimes, for legal DNA testing, we can use non-standard samples for testing. A DNA legal test requires written consent from all parties (or legal guardians), photo identification, and a third party who performs the DNA collection.

During a legal DNA test, if the sample is provided by a Medical Examiner who carefully tracks the specimen’s chain of custody, we can use items like tissue samples, blood samples, fingernails, toenails, and hair samples for testing.

Our experiences Genetic Consultants can help you decide if this option for testing is right for you. Call us at 1-855-362-5224.

How Long Does It Take To Get My DNA Results If I Don’t Send Mouth Swabs?

Testing of alternative samples may take up to an additional 5 days, depending on the DNA sample. This is to ensure that a strong enough genetic profile can be obtained. Once a DNA sample is found to be viable, the testing ordered will be completed. Our goal is always to help you get the answers you need in the shortest period of time.

Is My DNA Test Confidential When I Use Alternative DNA Samples?

Yes, you are protected by our strict privacy policy. No one may access your DNA test information without your written consent.