What Comes in a Home DNA Test Kit?

You have a paternity question and are ready to purchase a test. When you order a home DNA test kit online or buy one at the store, what exactly comes in it? If you choose a high-quality DNA testing lab that’s been in business a long time and has an excellent reputation, you can be absolutely sure the kit has everything you need to get accurate answers. Here’s a quick overview.

What Comes in a Home DNA Test Kit?

The items for DNA-collection that come in a home DNA test kit vary depending on which type of test you’re taking and the types of robots used as the lab for DNA extraction. For most at-home paternity tests, DNA from cheek cells are used, so the kit includes special swabs as well as paper envelopes for storage. The most popular DNA tests for ancestry extract genetic material from saliva, and so the kit includes a tube specially designed to both hold the sample and maintain its integrity during transit to the lab.

Details about a Home Paternity Test Kit

A home paternity test kit like the ones used by industry-leader DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) contains enough DNA-collection materials to test one (1) child + one (1) possible father + the mother (her participation is included in the lab fee and is recommended, but not required):

  • 12 cheek swabs (four swabs per participant)
  • 3 DNA sample envelopes to hold the participants’ swabs after samples are taken
  • 1 payment form (for use if the responsibility party does not choose to register online)
  • 1 prepaid return mailer
  • 1 set of instructions


FAQs about a Home DNA Test Kit for Paternity

Q: The swabs look like regular cotton swabs I can get at the store. Are they the same?

A: The DNA testing swabs are like cotton swabs, but with some very important modifications. The tips are made from a special Dacron polyester material that is optimal for DNA collection and extraction of the DNA in the laboratory. This material effectively captures the cells needed for paternity testing and holds on to them.

Q: Why are so many swabs required for a test from DDC?

A: Not all companies that do paternity testing require four swabs per participant, but DDC does; this is because the lab runs each test twice by independent teams in order to ensure complete accuracy.


Details about a Home DNA Test Kit for Ancestry

There are a lot of companies in the marketplace, both online and in stores, that offer at-home DNA kits for ancestry, and each one is a little bit different. Some use cheek swabs for collection, but others use saliva as the source of DNA for testing. Most kits that use saliva contain the following:

  • 1 collection tube with spit cup
  • 1 specimen bag in which to put the tube
  • 1 mailing box
  • 1 set of instructions


FAQS about a Home DNA Test Kit for Ancestry

 Q: What is the difference between collecting cheek cells and collecting saliva?

A:  To collect cheek cells, you scrape the insides of your cheeks vigorously with a special DNA-collection swab. With this kind of sample, the less saliva, the better! To prevent collecting too much saliva, you want to avoid scraping the gum areas. If the swabs seem too wet to put in the paper envelopes, just wave them in the air for a few minutes. To collect DNA via saliva, spit in the cup provided.

Q: What is the blue stuff in the cap?

A:  It is a stabilizing agent that keeps the DNA from degrading during the time it’s being mailed to the company for testing.

Wrapping It Up

Anytime you do a home DNA test, you are in joint partnership with the lab that does the analysis for you. Your responsibility is to collect your DNA carefully by following all instructions, and the lab’s responsibility is to follow processes to ensure accurate results. Working together, you can get the answers you’re looking for from your DNA.

Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.

Do you have questions or comments about a Home DNA Test Kit? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.



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