DNA-Based Human Individual Identification and DNA Paternity, Maternity, or Parentage Testing
The human body is composed of trillions of cells. DNA is the hereditary or genetic material located in every cell throughout the human body. We can generate an individual-specific genetic identity (Genetic ID) from the contents of DNA present in a person’s cells. Hence, every human has a unique DNA-based Genetic ID (also called DNA profile) that remains constant throughout life and can be used for human individual identification.
This unique individual-specific DNA profile is generated in a specialist laboratory by a process called DNA typing or DNA testing, using DNA extracted from cells (e.g., buccal cells) of an individual. Nowadays, 24 genetic markers present in the DNA of an individual are used to produce the individual’s DNA profile.
The unique individual-specific DNA profiles generated from different individuals can also be used for the following purposes:
- To give parents peace of mind over the biological identity of their baby conceived using in-vitro fertilization (IVF) by providing evidence that confirms that the biological father and mother are the sperm and egg donors, respectively (i.e., DNA parentage testing, the most definitive and irrefutable proof of parentage).
- To confirm whether two individuals are related to one another by providing evidence that a person is, or is not, the biological parent (father or mother) of a child (i.e., DNA paternity or maternity testing).
- To confirm whether three individuals are related to one another by providing evidence that a person is, or is not, the biological child of two adult individuals (i.e., DNA parentage testing).
- To provide evidence to resolve or prevent hospital newborn mix ups (which could happen in hospital maternity wards) by unequivocally identifying the biological parents of a newborn.
- To provide evidence to identify the remains of one or more victims of a disaster or to match human remains of victims of a disaster to biological relatives (i.e., DNA typing for individual identification).
- To provide evidence to identify lost and found persons or to link a lost and found person with his or her biological relatives (i.e., DNA typing for individual identification)
- To provide evidence of family or kinship relationship (especially father-mother-son/daughter relationship) for immigration application or purpose (i.e., Immigration DNA testing)
- To provide evidence of family relationship to settle inheritance and estate dispute (especially when a person has died intestate, i.e., without a will) (i.e., Inheritance or estate DNA testing).
- To provide positive or negative evidence of paternity in relation to matters concerning child custody and child support in a divorce (i.e., Child custody or child support DNA testing).
GE is helmed by molecular geneticist Dr Koh Chong Lek, PhD (London), DIC, FASc, who has almost 50 years of experience in genetics, molecular biology, and biotechnology. He has pioneered DNA-based human identification or DNA typing in Malaysia since 1992. He was the first Malaysian scientist to provide DNA typing service for human identification and parentage testing. He and his team members used DNA typing to (a) confirm the identities of several victims of the Highland Towers collapse in Kuala Lumpur in 1993 and (b) identify nine badly burnt victims of the MAS Fokker 50 plane crash in Tawau, Sabah, in 1995.