Examining the Accuracy of DNA Parentage Tests Using Computer Simulations and Known Pedigrees

(1) Upper Arlington High School, Upper Arlington, Ohio, (2) The Ohio State University South Centers, Piketon, Ohio

DNA parentage tests are widely used for identifying family in humans, as well as controlling family representation and inbreeding in animals. But, how accurate are these tests? In this study, we hypothesized that current parentage tests are reliable if the analysis involves only one or a few families. We tested the hypothesis by simulating and performing DNA parentage testing on yellow perch fish Perca flavescens with known pedigrees. We found that 100% of the offspring matched their recorded/true parents when one true family was analyzed. However, only 47.25% of offspring matched their true parents when a group of 20 families were evaluated. Our results suggest that DNA parentage tests are reliable as long as the right methods are used, since these tests involve only one family in most cases, and that the results from parentage analyses of large populations can only be used as a reference.

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