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Is paternity testing accurate?

In cases where paternity is in dispute, testing is critical. Apart from the emotional side of it, just the financial side is hugely important. Child support payments could ride on that test. So, how accurate is it?

The short answer is that it's not going to be 100 percent accurate in all cases. Not even DNA testing can accomplish that.

The test looks for matching genetic markers. If it finds them, the odds are very good that the two people are related. They could be 99 percent sure. It's not common for two people who aren't related to share all of the same markers as two who are.

That said, it's not impossible. Two unrelated people could trigger a match.

What are the odds? One expert noted that it would be like taking a quarter, flipping it, and having it land on tails every single time for 1,000 consecutive flips. Could it happen? Yes. Is it going to? Probably not.

Part of the reason the tests are trusted, though, is that it's not as if there is an endless line of potential fathers. While there are over 3.7 billion men in the world, raising the risks of a potential false match, the pool of men who could realistically be the father is far smaller. If it's thought that a man is the father for other reasons, then a match of over 99 percent is generally considered close enough to show that he is.

Again, though, it's incredibly important to accurately establish paternity. Be sure you know exactly where you stand and what it means from a legal perspective.

Source: Truth About Deception, "How accurate is paternity testing," accessed Nov. 23, 2017

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