Wednesday, March 24, 2010

101 Greatest Paternity Stories of all Time - Sneak Peak

In honor of a recent update on one of our 101... we're giving you a sneak peak. Not all of the 101 paternity stories we have amassed involve celebrities... but they're the juiciest, aren't they! 

Paternity Lab Diary has searched the history of paternity to bring you, the best 'who's the daddy' list of all time. In no particular order here they are:

Anna Nicole Smith  - Dannielynn Birkhead
Unless you've been under a rock, you cannot forget that when Anna Nicole died she tragically left behind a beautiful little girl Dannielynn. Who could inherit part of a 1billion dollar fortune one day. An epic paternity trial ensued and Anna's ex-boyfriend Larry was victorious. In March 2010 the courts determined that Anna Nicole, and therefor Dannielynn, would not recieve any of the billion dollar fortune left behind by Anna's second husband - a man who was 63 years older than she.

Micheal Jackson - His 3 kids
Although untested (as far as the public is aware) there is no question that there are nothing but questions surrounding the paternity of MJ's three children. After his death celbrity gossip sites named countless men who might be the father, and even more countless sources claiming they knew who the father is. I'll surely be controversial in saying so... but I believe it's quite possible that Michael himself is the father.

Kourtney Kardashian - Mason Dash Disik
The eldest Kardashian daughter, Kourtney began her reality TV career on the Filthy Rich Cattle Drive. Kourtney is now appearing on Keeping up with the Kardashians. In Dec of 2009 she gave birth to her son Mason Dash. The child bears the last name of her on again off again boyfriend Scott Disik. When the child was just two months old a potential father came forward and demanded a paternity test. The gossip mags went crazy. The test must have resulted in Scott being the father... because the story never amounted to anything! 

Beyonce's Dad - Mathew Knowles
Beyonce and Jay Z together make over 250 million dollars per year. Beyonce's dad probably also makes a very nice salary as he is his daughter's manager. In 2009 his wife of 29 years, Beyonce's mother filed for divorce. Mathew Knowles had not only cheated but had fathered a child with his mistress Alexsandra Wright. There are also rumors that Matthew Knowles is the father of another of Destiny's children. On March 24 TMZ posted a story confirming the paternity results- Mathew Knowles cannot be excluded as the biological father of the child. In other words... he's the daddy!

Keanu Reeves - Not the daddy
In 2009 a woman in Canada alleged that Keanu Reeves was the father of her adult children. She filed suit asking for huge sums of money. Keanu agreed to take a paternity test, although he claimed he'd never met the woman. Test results proved Keanu was not the father. 

Gavin Rossdale - Daisy Lowe
Father and daughter knew one another as godfather and goddaughter for 15 years before a paternity test revealed the truth, that Bush frontman and husband of Gwen Stefani was in fact the biological father of Daisy Lowe. Daisy's mother was a friend of Rossdales before either were famous. Rumors have circulated that Gwen Stefani is not happy with the situation, but photos and updates on Rossdale's fan site show a happy family. 

John Edwards - Presidential Candidate

Sperm Donor - Ordered to pay child support?

Eddie Murphy - Spice Girl Mel B

Elvis - trust fund for unnamed love child 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A brief ancestry DNA lesson

If you want to have your ancestry tested you are first faced with the daunting task of learning a brand new language. In order to simplify I've begun writing definitions for some of the common terms used by DNA scientists to explain ancestry testing. Here are a few to get you started!

Mitochondrial DNA: this is DNA that is inherited from the mother. All persons inherit this DNA from their mothers. This DNA is not chromosomal DNA, it is DNA found in the mitochondria of your cells. It is inherited from mothers because the mother contribution at conception is of the cell, plus ½ the DNA. The sperm delivers only ½ of the DNA, no mitochondria are donated. 
listed in this diagram of a cell as: mitochondrion
your chromosomal DNA is in the nucleus

Y DNA: this is the DNA that is found on the Y chromosome. Men have a Y chromosome, women do not. Men can donate either a Y or an X at conception. If you are male you will have the same Y chromosome as your father. If you are female you will have the same X chromosome as your father, plus one of your mother’s X chromosomes. Testing the YDNA tells you your ancestry on your father's side.

Haplogroup:  a means of characterizing individuals based on their DNA. In the past, we’ve grouped people based on race – visual traits such as eye color, skin color etc. contribute to race. We’ve also characterized people by ethnicity – an indication of your country or region of origin. Both systems are flawed for ancestry because of the amount of ‘breeding’ between racial and ethnic groups that has occurred over the last 10 thousand years. Also, consider this: while you may now call yourself a member of the UK, you used to be Scottish, prior to the Roman invasion you were Caledonian, and then prior to that you belonged to a celtic tribe. All of that history in only the last 2000 years! All in an area 1/9 the size of Arizona. 
Haplogroups 'fix' the problems associated with race / ethnicity.  

Ancestral DNA: a means of categorizing persons based on their DNA.

Autosomal DNA test: your combined identity profile is generated. This is the same profile used to test for paternity and other relationship tests. Then that profile is compared to databases and you are given a percentage match to 4 groups. Those groups are very broad: Native American, European, Sub Saharan African and East Asian.
Since this photo only represents 3 of the 4 general groups, I'm throwing in a picture of 
Chief Yellowhorse for good measure:

He's shy... but he said we could post this instead. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ben, accuser and

A big time football star is once again involved in a sex scandal. This sex scandal peaks our interest because the police are involved and they are requesting DNA. The only other recent scandal that I can recall that involved DNA was the Kobe Bryant issue. Kobe was accused of rape. Kobe's lawyers tried to clear Kobe of the deed by asking the victim's boyfriend(S) to supply their DNA as evidence. First of all why did she have boyfriend(s)? I'm just guessing that by asking for more than one the defense team for Kobe was trying to make the woman look bad. Just Guessing!

Now big Ben is also submitting DNA. His accuser visited a hospital just a few hours after she was victimized and reports say she was crying hysterically. She was accompanied by several of her sisters, of the sorority kind. All of which who have been instructed to take down their Facebook and Twitter pages and remain silent. I don't see a house full of women keeping their mouths shut for that long, but I've never been in a sorority so I suppose if the sisterhood is as strong as they say then it's possible. (Good Luck ladies, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.)

DNA testing for rape, or sexual misconduct, or whatever it is that Ben is accused of is a relatively common procedure. So common that you can obtain the same testing to prove that your wife or girlfriend, or husband or boyfriend have cheated. The infidelity / cheating testing procedure involves analyzing a piece of evidence for the presence of multiple sources of DNA. When catching a cheater, the evidence most often tested is a pair of women's panties. Other types of evidence include - stained bed sheets, used condoms, men's underwear, swimming suits, blankets, infamous blue dresses...

Once the evidence is obtained a Forensic Scientist screens the evidence for the presence of semen. Semen has special characteristics that make it unique to all other bodily fluids.
  • It contains high concentrations of chemicals that are produced by men. 
  • It contains sperm cells which are so numerous that one instance of ejaculation contains 50 to 50 million sperm cells. (Numbers are average, for healthy men.) 
  • It glows under fluorescent light. (other bodily fluids also glow - so don't go rushing out to buy black lights, because you'll likely detect pee, saliva, female ejaculate etc.)
These unique properties make it possible for Forensic analysts to test to see if semen present on a piece of evidence. After a semen screen is conducted a DNA profile is generated from the evidence. The DNA is then compared to the DNA found. Dependent on the situation a match can be used to conclude that infidelity of cheating has occurred.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sister Puzzles. Red heads.

I've been working on understanding the complexities of relationship testing for a very long time. Over 10 years now in fact. I've been seeing a pattern in sibling-ship testing for about 4 years now. I have seen people given results in all sorts of cases. I've seen results overturned in courts, I've seen two very old women 're-united' as sisters who are in their 80s. Can you imagine meeting your half sister for the first time at 80 years old?
Cake photo from:

Sibling DNA testing, grandparent DNA testing, Avuncular DNA... is not like paternity testing. The results of those tests rarely give the participants a 99% or higher probability. In the case of all but one scenario, they cannot give a 0%. A 0% is very important. It means, sorry you aren't related. You can get that result in a paternity test, or a grandparent test but ONLY when you test: mother, child, true paternal grandmother and true paternal grandfather. I've seen plenty of results that show a child is certainly related to grandma, but not grandpa (which means grandma was fooling around.) That's another post though.

Results of relationship testing are like a piece of a puzzle. Puzzles have many pieces, DNA testing is only one of the pieces, and depending on what the results of the test are, it can be a meaningful piece, like the corner or just a basic piece, such as the red head of the dog below. You knew it was a dog, but you didn't know it was red.
Let's get back to the 80 year old sisters. Here are their puzzle pieces. 
  1. Mom is on her death bed. She confesses a deep secret to Sister 1. Bob, may not be your dad!
  2. Bob tells Sister 1 the he knows mom had an affair and helps Sister 1 find the man. 
  3. The man is dead, but he had a daughter who's still alive, Sister 2.
  4. Sister 1 & Sister 2 have so much in common. They both love painting, they both have green eyes, they both have red hair. They both had 3 kids, they both married men in the air force...
  5. Sister 1 does not look anything liker her 'other siblings.' They have blonde hair and blue eyes. 
  6. Sister 1 & Sister 2 decide to do a DNA test. 
  7. DNA results are 26.6 times more likely to be half siblings = 96%

The DNA results are not great. In fact they are considered only 'fair' on a scale of poor. fair. great. excellent. But, in this case I think they are good enough to call Sister 1 & Sister 2 siblings. First of all it's really unlikely that mom was having an affair with multiple men. Second, all of the other puzzle pieces 1-6 point in the direction that sister 1 & sister 2 are siblings. Third, for a half sibling-ship test the results are expected to be low. If you would like to make those results stronger, one would only need to add more biological relatives to the mix, most importantly the mother's of both sisters. 

When we add the mother's of Sister 1 & Sister 2 the results are amplified (watch out mom's are blowing things up again.)  The results of the test with all four persons - Mom1, Sister 1, Mom 2, Sister 2 are a whopping 544.2 times more likely to be half siblings = 99%. 

iTestDNA has more experience interpreting sibling ship test results than any other company. If you have test results that you just don't understand give us a call, we can help. If you need a test we promise we'll help you understand your results. 602-492-4362

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Your mother isn't your mother

Ask anyone buying a paternity test and they will tell you they want an accurate test. Anyone who sells paternity will certainly tell their customers that their tests are the most accurate in the industry. In fact some companies will guarantee 99.99% accuracy. Problem is: the accuracy they are promising has nothing to do with how often the lab screws up. It has absolutely nothing to do with the test being right. It has everything to do with probability of paternity. That number is calculated based on the DNA that the child has, the father has and if you're smart... the DNA the mother has. Throw in some allele frequencies, a couple of algebraic calculations and you've got probability of paternity (what the sellers call - accuracy.)

What on earth is a mother doing in a paternity test. We already know she's the mom right!? Well here's the thing. By adding the mother you are essentially amplifying (blowing up) the accuracy of the test a million times.
Back to the question: What on earth is a mother doing in a paternity test. Well, she's not just blowing up the accuracy. She also serves as a quality control. Mom's are great, there are rarely maternity tests done because mom's have the babies, and they take care of them for a really long time. It's rare that they don't know who their children are, even rarer that they need a DNA test to prove it. The great thing about adding mom to a test is that you can use it to make sure the correct child was tested. 

Let's say that the father takes a child in to be tested. Results come back and they show he's not the father. Mom is livid! She knows the test can't be right, she was a virgin before him - of course. Now, mom has to go through all the trouble of getting another test, because she HAS to prove that he's the dad. 
Mom does not need to re-do the test. She can simply prove that dad faked the test by taking a different child to the lab. She submits her DNA for a maternity test. The result: She's not the mom. 

What's great about people who try to cheat the system is that we've seen it all before. There are so many safeguards in paternity test, that not only is in impossible these days to make an error it's also close to impossible to cheat the system. Not only did that father waste a great deal of money in having a paternity test done with a child he knew wasn't his, but he has to explain to his baby momma why he did it. I'd love to be a fly on the wall around that dinner table. The moral of this story: Crime doesn't pay. 

Are you interested in learning how to read a paternity test? Are you interested in the calculations? Do you have a test you need professionally reviewed? Give us a call! iTestDNA 602-492-4362