Nail DNA Testing
- New way to collect DNA
- £195 for viability study
- Non-invasive and discreet
- Up to 35 DNA markers analysed if a profile can be retrieved
- Award-winning UK laboratory
- Easy sample collection
Nail DNA testing service from a company you can trust
Extensive trials by our in-house analysts have proven nails to be a good source of DNA. The nail clippings are easy to self-collect without needing a collection kit or assistance by professional sample collectors. The collected nails are stable so can be stored long-term at room temperature and can be transported to the laboratory for processing by normal post.
Simply send us your nail clippings, and if we can get a DNA profile, we can perform a DNA test in the usual way (fee applies). You can see our list of DNA testing kits here.
The results of the viability study can be made available in up to 5 days. The results of the DNA relationship test can then be next day or same day, depending on the level of service paid for.
Nail DNA sample collection
Both toe nails and finger nails can be used for nail DNA testing. As many nail clippings as possible are required as this provides more sample to be analysed. The advantage of using toe nails over finger nails is that there is less potential for contamination. Acrylic nails, Shellac and other forms of nail varnish may need to be removed as this may impact on the DNA results.
Nail samples can be used for both peace of mind testing and for legal cases but it is important to gain consent for all samples that are sent in to be analysed. For legally defensible results, the nail samples would need to be collected under chain of custody conditions. This means that the nail samples do not leave the custody of those who are legally responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the DNA testing results.
When the nail clippings arrive at our laboratory, the first step is to extract the DNA from them. If a profile can be retrieved, the nail DNA will be analysed for up to 35 DNA Short Tandem Repeats (STR) markers using one of our DNA relationship testing kits. If a DNA profile cannot be retrieved from the nails, we will contact you and arrange to return the cost of the DNA relationship testing kit. A refund will not be possible for the laboratory work already undertaken for the nail DNA viability study.
Unique applications of nail DNA testing
The usual method of sample collection for an AlphaBiolabs’ DNA test is to rub a mouth swab on the inside of the donor’s cheek to collect cheek (buccal) cells. The DNA is then extracted from the cells when the swabs are returned to the laboratory for testing.
An advantage of the nail DNA test is that samples can be collected in a subtle manner. For example, children don’t need to be made aware that a test is being undertaken. All you need to do is simply send in their collected nail clippings. Such a discreet method may be particularly beneficial in the case of a paternity dispute, for example, where using a swab on older children could lead to awkward questions.
Consent is needed for anyone supplying their DNA for testing. Anyone over the age of 16 would have to sign their own consent, but a parent or guardian with parental responsibility could sign on behalf of a child undertaking DNA testing.
Another application of nail DNA testing is when an individual has passed away. This is in the event of the mouth swab method of DNA collection not working.
Consent would also be needed from the next of kin or another qualifying relative to process a deceased individual’s nail sample. For legal cases, the nails would need to be collected by one of our trained sample collectors, funeral directors or occasionally by coroners. The sample collector must sign the sample collector declaration and a copy of the death certificate may need to be sent in as a form of ID.
The DNA profile produced by the nail DNA test may be needed to prove a biological relationship in the case of probate or will disputes. Alternatively, a DNA profile could be made into a lasting memento of a loved one.