Alternative Specimen DNA Test - info-hero

Alternative DNA Specimen Test

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The Alternative Specimen DNA Tests are typically ordered when someone wants to know if a DNA specimen left in their home or office belongs to themselves or another person. Fingernails, toothbrushes, condoms, bodily fluids captured on clothing like blood, mucus, or semen, and other items can be checked for viable DNA. If it is determined as a source of viable DNA, then the DNA sample is compared to another individual's cheek swab to see if they are the same person or related. The extracted DNA can even be tested to determine if it is from a male or a female. Relationship DNA testing, such as paternity testing, may also be performed using the DNA sample in situations where the child or father isn't available or willing to provide a cheek swab. Specimens can be submitted to our lab by mail; secure DNA test kits are provided. Register online or call (888) 378-2499.

Note for New York residents: This test is not available in NY state.

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Specimen Viability

Before we can use the DNA from a non-standard specimen like fingernails, teeth, or a piece of clothing, we need to do a viability study to ensure that there is enough DNA present. If there isn't enough viable DNA, you can resubmit another sample; however, keep in mind that there are no refunds, and therefore, submitting an alternative specimen carries some degree of risk that you will not get an answer. The best practice is to always use the specimen that is the most likely to have DNA if it's available to you.

DNA From Alternative Specimens Testing Options

Garment Stain - Male vs Female
Garment stains can reveal the gender of a male or female when tested for DNA. Register Now
Blood Stain on Fabric
Blood stains on fabric can be tested for DNA, and then compared to another individual's cheek swab in order to determine the relation. Register Now
DNA Test - Condom
We can often use DNA specimens from used condoms. Register Now
Straw, Soda Can, Chewing Gum
For those who are not available for a cheek swab DNA test, straws, soda cans, and chewing gum are perfect candidates for Health Street's DNA testing services. Register Now
DNA Test - Teeth
Tooth DNA testing can be useful for testing the DNA of the recently deceased. Testing teeth is a little more difficult, however, and should not be the first selection unless there isn't an alternative option. Register Now
DNA Test - Toothbrush
As long as the person has used the toothbrush for some time, DNA samples can be extracted from the toothbrush. Register Now
DNA Test - Cigarette Butts
Although cigarettes contain thousands of different chemicals, they can still be checked for viable DNA and then compared to the cheek swab of another individual. Register Now
DNA Test - Envelope Flaps
DNA degrades as time goes on, so it's important to submit this specimen for testing as soon as possible. Register Now
DNA Test - Ear Swab
Ear swabs may be the ticket to obtaining the information that you need. DNA can be extracted and compared with another person's DNA specimen. Register Now
DNA Test - Tampon
Bodily fluids like blood are usually a viable way to obtain a DNA sample, so tampons often serve as an excellent source. Register Now
DNA Test - Hair Follicle
The preferred method of DNA testing is usually a cheek swab, but in the case that someone is not available for cheek swabbing, hair DNA testing may be a viable option. We will need 6 to 10 strands of hair with the hair follicles still intact. DNA from hair clippings without the follicle (root) will not work for this test. Please note that DNA hair test results cannot be used in court. Register Now
DNA Test - Semen
Semen is another example of a bodily fluid that may provide a good DNA sample. Register Now
DNA Test - Fingernails
Fingernail DNA testing can provide results that can be compared with another person's cheek swab to determine their relation. Register Now
DNA Test - Mucus
Mucus DNA extraction works for the same reason that ear swab DNA extraction can be successful; it collects DNA as it moves through a person's body. Register Now

Frequently Asked Questions

DNA specimens for our Alternative Specimen DNA Test are mailed in using an at-home testing kit that we send you. Since the specimen isn't collected at a clinic directly from the person, the DNA test results cannot be used for legal purposes. Please take a look at our legal DNA tests if you need to use DNA test results for legal purposes.

Can you get DNA from hair?

Generally, yes. It's important that the hair follicles (or roots) stay intact, and we need about 6 to 10 strands. As with any type of DNA test other than a cheek swab, we will need to check for viable DNA per case.

What can you get DNA from?

A large variety of DNA testing possibilities are offered by Health Street. Some of these include DNA tests from garment stains, teeth, condoms, straws, soda cans, chewing gum, blood stains on fabric, tampons, toothbrushes, hair follicles, cigarette butts, ear swabs, fingernails, mucus, and semen.

Can you get DNA from blood?

As long as our viability study ensures that there is enough DNA present in the sample, a DNA test from blood may be performed.

Can you get DNA from urine?

Health Street does not currently offer any urine DNA tests.

About Our Alternative DNA Specimen Test

Which DNA Test to Choose

Health Street offers a large variety of DNA testing options that may be selected for a range of different reasons. It is important to choose the best DNA test available for your situation. Buccal cells (skin from the inner cheek) rub off easily onto cotton swabs and guarantee a viable DNA specimen, so if the person is available for a cheek swab DNA test then this is what we recommend. However, if the person is not available or able to get a cheek swab, one of our alternative DNA tests should be able to provide you with the information you are looking for.

DNA Tooth and Fingernail Testing

Fingernails are a good source of DNA and can be used if other specimen types (like cheek swabs or hair follicles) are not available. While DNA can also be extracted from teeth, this is much more difficult and should only be used in cases where other parts of the body are either not intact, too diseased, or otherwise unavailable for testing. Not all teeth or all fingernails contain viable DNA.

DNA Testing Using Bodily Fluids

DNA can be extracted from the fibers that are on a piece of clothing or fabric, especially if the fabric is soiled with bodily fluid like ejaculate or semen. This type of DNA testing can help determine whether someone was in a particular place at a particular time. If the DNA is determined to be viable, we can compare it to the cheek swab of another person to see if they are related or if they are the same person. We can also test it to see if it male or female.

Related DNA Tests

If you'd like to see a comprehensive list of all DNA tests that Health Street offers, you can view all DNA tests here. Below are some of the related DNA tests that we offer: