How to Find DNA With Homemade Methods

By Mary Cole
DNA samples aren't just found in saliva, blood, semen and hair. DNA is also contained in skin cells and other parts of the body.

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DNA, which stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, is genetic material present in the cells of all living organisms and is core to every person's genetic makeup. With all of the present advances in DNA collection technology, the collection of DNA samples isn't just for court-ordered lab work to determine paternity or for forensic experts on crime scenes trying to solve complex homicide cases anymore. Today, everyday people have the opportunity to collect their own DNA samples and those of their close relatives for everything from genealogy research to satisfying their own curiosity regarding paternity. Collection of DNA can even be done at home using only a cotton swab.

Label your envelopes for each person you wish to test; include any other identifying information required by the DNA testing lab.

Start collecting one person at a time. Have the person open his or her mouth wide. Put the first two swabs into the mouth. Remember not to touch the collection end of the swabs (swab tips). Swab back and forth and up and down firmly on the right side of the cheek for 20 seconds. Rotate the two swabs to get enough cheek cells. Note the test may be invalidated if there is not enough cheek cell sample on the swab.

Start collecting with the other two swabs on the left side of the cheek. Repeat all steps in Step 2. Again, remember not to touch the collection end of the swabs and rotate the two swabs to get enough cheek cells. Rub back and forth and up and down firmly.

Place the swabs into the envelope and seal. Place the swab envelope into a larger envelope and mail it to the collection site of your choice.

Pluck from the root at least five to 10 hairs from your head or from the person you seek DNA analysis. Do not cut the hair or touch the hair at the root. Touching hair at the root can contaminate the hair sample.

Place the hair samples carefully in a sealed container. Label appropriately or as advised by the testing site.

About the Author

Mary Cole resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and works as an engineer for a major wireless company. She began writing professionally in 1999. Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College and attended film school at Columbia University in New York City.

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