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Can a toothbrush be used for DNA testing? The answer is Yes.

AlphaBiolabs’ geneticists have undertaken viability studies to prove that used toothbrushes can be a good source of DNA. Following extensive tests, they have demonstrated that the method of brushing and the type of toothpaste used has no effect on the DNA extracted. As such, the company will launch its toothbrush DNA test this month.

Non-invasive and discreet

The usual method of DNA collection is to rub a swab on the inside of the donor’s cheek to collect buccal cells. The DNA is then extracted from the cells when the swabs are returned to the laboratory for testing.

However, DNA cannot be collected from cheek cells using a swab once an individual has passed away. An advantage of toothbrush DNA testing is that it can be used when an individual is deceased. The DNA can simply be collected from their used toothbrush. DNA may be needed to prove a biological relationship in the case of probate or will disputes. Alternatively, a DNA profile could be a lasting memento of a loved one.

Consent must be provided for all toothbrush samples that are sent in to be analysed. Next of kin or another qualifying relative can sign consent for an individual who has died. A parent or guardian must provide consent for a child under 16 years of age.  However, another advantage of the toothbrush DNA test is that a child under 16 does not need to be aware that a test is being undertaken. For example, in the case of a paternity dispute, using a swab on older children could lead to awkward questions. Choosing the option of their regular toothbrush instead allows for more discreet sampling.

“We pride ourselves in pioneering cutting-edge developments in this industry”, said David Thomas, AlphaBiolabs Managing Director. “We see the offering of toothbrush DNA testing as confirming AlphaBiolabs as the market leader in DNA testing solutions.”

Toothbrush DNA testing

Once the toothbrushes have been returned to the laboratory for DNA testing the first step is to extract the DNA from the sample. AlphaBiolabs’ in-house laboratory uses one of the newest DNA extraction techniques available to ensure a high level of precision. As in the case of cheek cell DNA testing, the toothbrush DNA will also be analysed for up to 35 DNA Short Tandem Repeats (STR) markers, making it one of the most accurate DNA tests on the market.

STR markers are specific locations on a chromosome made up of sequences of repeated DNA. These STR markers are highly variable in length between individuals. Relationship tests are completed by comparing the observed DNA profiles from a group of people and considering the probability of any potential relationships. Paternity tests are completed by comparing the STR markers seen in the child with those seen in the alleged parents. The cost of DNA toothbrush testing is £195 with results available in up to 5 days. To find out more about this test, please call AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300 or email us at info@alphabiolabs.com.