Toothbrush 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
Toothbrush DNA testing service from a laboratory you can trust
AlphaBiolabs’ in-house DNA scientists have undertaken viability studies to prove that used toothbrushes can be a good source of DNA. The method of brushing and type of toothpaste used has no effect on the results. Simply send us your used toothbrush and if we can get a DNA profile, we can perform a DNA test in the usual way (fee applies).
When the toothbrushes arrive at our laboratory, the first step is to extract the DNA from the toothbrush. If a profile can be retrieved, the toothbrush DNA will be analysed for up to 35 DNA Short Tandem Repeats (STR) markers. If a DNA profile cannot be retrieved from the toothbrush, we will contact you and arrange to return the cost of the DNA relationship test. A refund will not be possible for the laboratory work already undertaken for the viability study on the toothbrush.
Discreet DNA sampling method
The usual method of sample collection for an AlphaBiolabs’ DNA test is to rub a 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.
A major advantage of the toothbrush 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 regular used toothbrush. 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.
Why toothbrush DNA testing?
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. As such, toothbrush DNA testing is aimed at younger donors who need to be unaware of any test taking place.
Another advantage of toothbrush DNA testing is to gain a DNA profile from an individual who has passed away. This is because DNA cannot always be collected from cheek cells using a swab in deceased individuals. However, DNA can be collected from the deceased’s used toothbrush if next of kin provide consent. If a biological relationship can be proven, a legal DNA test would be needed for probate or will disputes (see Legal DNA testing and nail DNA testing). However, a DNA profile from a toothbrush DNA test could be a lasting memento of a loved one, or even turned into a piece of art.
You can send your used, dry toothbrushes into our laboratory using the sample envelope contained in the testing kit. It’s important that the toothbrushes are not cleaned before being sent.
We can also accept electric toothbrushes: just send us the head, not the whole toothbrush.
All testing performed in an award-winning UK laboratory
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a toothbrush always provide a DNA profile?
Is consent needed for toothbrush DNA testing?
Does the brushing technique make any difference?
Should toothpaste be used?
What packaging should the toothbrushes be sent in?
Toothbrushes must have been regularly used by the sample donor. Toothbrushes must be dry; do not rinse or clean the toothbrush prior to sending.
They need to be sent to the laboratory in the sample envelope contained in the testing kit. Do not place them in plastic bags or sandwich bags.
How does the toothbrush DNA test work?
Once the toothbrushes have been returned to the laboratory for DNA testing the first step is to extract the DNA from the sample. If a profile can be retrieved, a DNA relationship test can be performed in the same way as mouth swab DNA testing. The DNA profile will 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.