When a dispute arises regarding the identity of a child's father, a DNA test may seem like a simple and straightforward way to settle the matter. According to World Net Daily, though, between 14 and 30 percent of paternity claims are found to be fraudulent. It is easy enough to submit a lock of hair and wait for the results, but if the results contradict reality, you might be wondering what to do next. There are several reasons this might happen.
Tests can be tampered with
Though uncommon, DNA fraud can affect the outcome of paternity testing, and there are several things you should be aware of if you are dealing with a paternity dispute. The most common way that DNA fraud may be executed is through test tampering. If the mother of the child or any other interested person gains access to it, he or she may manipulate it to produce positive results when the true results would be negative.
Lab error may also produce false results
Deliberate fraud is not the only source of erroneous DNA test results. In some instances, errors made by the lab can also lead to results that are inaccurate. Estimates for how common this is vary, but it does happen and may cause either false positive or false negative results. If you suspect that your tests are incorrect, this may be the reason why.
Paternity candidates may be related
Another potential culprit for an erroneous test result is the possibility that the father and the test subject are related. If, for example, a child is fathered by Tom and the mother claims Tom's brother Jim to be the father, Jim may test positive for paternity even if he never had any relationship with the child's mother. Situations like these are rare, but they are possible nonetheless and should be carefully considered.
DNA mutations can complicate test results
Perhaps the rarest of all possibilities, a DNA mutation is another potential way in which a paternity test may be incorrect. Mutations occur constantly and usually cause no issue, but if sperm contains a mutated strand of DNA, it may cause the child's DNA to test differently than the father's. It is worth noting that the older a man gets, the more mutations his sperm will contain.
If you suspect that the results of a paternity test are incorrect for some reason, you should be aware of your legal rights. Contact an attorney to explore potential recourse.