DNA tests are performed at DDC’s world famous laboratory using the best equipment and the most stringent procedures to ensure accurate and fast results.
The DDC Dual Process™
Results of a DNA test are often used to make life-changing decisions, either by the tested parties themselves or by those who have the authority to do so, such as a court of law or a government agency. DDC’s Dual Process™ ensures that every test result we release is accurate and that our sample handling procedures hold up against rigorous legal examination.
In this process, each DNA sample that arrives in the lab is divided in two for independent testing by two teams. At each step, the samples are identified and checked against our records. A staff member signs off at each step. In this way, the samples are tracked and accounted for throughout the process. The raw data produced from the independent tests are reviewed by our laboratory directors to see if the results match. The necessary statistical calculations are then performed in order to answer questions of paternity, identity, and family relationships.
Biomek® FX and Biomek® 2000
The DNA samples that our lab receives, most often buccal swabs and sometimes blood, need to undergo several DNA purification and preparation steps before the actual DNA test. The cheek or blood cells first need to be lysed to release the DNA. Secondly, proteins, fats and other cellular materials have to be removed so that they do not interfere with the DNA test. Finally, the proper amount of DNA must be added to special reagents for the DNA test. Traditionally, these steps would have been performed by a laboratory technician, sample by sample.
Each of our Biomek® systems allows us to perform the above DNA purification and preparation steps in batches of 384 at a time—thousands in a day. With precise and accurate liquid handling methods, these robots ensure consistency and reliability of our DNA tests. They also reduce the possibility for human error and sample mix-ups while increasing the number of DNA tests we can process each day.
GeneAmp® PCR System 9700
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has revolutionized the DNA testing industry by providing a quick method for reproducing specific portions of a DNA molecule for subsequent analysis. DDC invested in this technology early on, and we have further refined our processes to provide seamless and faster sample processing. We use several GeneAmp® PCR systems in most of our DNA tests, especially for paternity and forensics applications.
The ABI Prism® 3100
Our laboratory is equipped with several ABI Prism® 3100 genetic analyzers that process the large number of cases we receive each day. The ABI Prism® performs one of the most essential steps in DNA testing—capillary analysis. In this step, DNA molecules produced from PCR are examined to determine characteristics such as size or sequence (the arrangement of DNA molecules in a DNA strand). The ABI Prism® generates the raw data that is needed for the statistical calculations that determine paternity, identity, and family relationships. Statistical analysis of the data is performed by one of our PhD’s using the specially designed software.