Legality Of DNA Test On A Deceased Person Part 1

Deborah Warrie

Deborah Warrie

WHAT IS DNA?  DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that contains the genetic code in the chromosomes of the cells of living things. It thus determines the particular structure and functions of every cell and is responsible for characteristics being passed on from parents to their children. The DNA molecule consists of two strands that wind around each other to form a shape known as a double helix.

NOW, WHAT IS A DNA TEST? It is a test, which, among other things, is used to identify someone or to show that people are relatives.


According to the Wikipedia DNA Paternity testing means:

“The use of DNA profiles to determine whether an individual is the biological parent of another individual. Paternity testing can be especially important when the rights and duties of the father are in issue and a child’s paternity is in doubt. Tests can also determine the likelihood of someone being a biological grandparent. Though genetic testing is the most reliable standard, older methods also exist, including ABO blood group typing, analysis of various other proteins and enzymes, or using human leukocyte antigen antigens. The current techniques for paternity testing are using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Paternity testing can now also be performed while the woman is still pregnant from a blood draw.”

A DNA paternity test is nearly 100% accurate at determining whether a man is another person’s biological father. DNA tests can use cheek swabs or blood tests. You must have the test done in a medical setting if you need results for legal reasons. See OLAYINKA v. ADEPARUSI & ANOR (2011) LPELR-8691(CA)

“To my mind, the paternity of the disputed res has not been determined, anybody can be awarded custody of a child but the most important thing is that if a party is claiming paternity it is trite that a Court of Law should be allowed to determine same on proof of evidence relating to paternity, which could only be done by referral for a DNA test of the parties involved. After such a test the Court has a duty to declare the actual father of the child in dispute, in consonance with the evidence at its disposal.”

Also, prenatal paternity tests can determine fatherhood during pregnancy. Can scientific DNA testing be conducted on a deceased person in a paternity dispute? YES. Before dealing with the question above, it is necessary to first and foremost indicate what does DNA paternity testing entail? In a DNA paternity test, the result (called the ‘probability of parentage) is 0%, when the alleged parent is not biologically related to the child, and the probability of parentage is typically 99.99% when the alleged parent is biologically related to the child. In the next edition we shall look at the legal procedure to get a paternity test performed depending on circumstances of the case.

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