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Old 12-18-2012, 06:26 AM   #1
Vince524
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DNA testing questions.

I'm working on an outline for my new WIP. In it, you have two families that often show supernatural abilities. The MC is psychic. She finds out from a ghost that another young psychic, a 10 year old boy, is in trouble. The boy could be related to either family. No mother or father would be in the picture and it's possible that his closest relative could be a distant cousin. My question would be how long could it take before, with DNA testing, that they find out which family he belongs to.

Is it possible that it wouldn't show if there's no direct family member there?
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:59 AM   #2
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Wait, they have the ten yr. old there in person so they can draw his blood? Are they doing his genetic analysis in their own facility, or do they have to send it off somewhere? Do they have gene-prints on file for the two families, and if so for how many members of each? And, how genetically similar are the two families? If they are from different ethnic backgrounds that would make it easier to tell which one the boy is related to.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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However long you need. Standard is 3-7 days once the lab gets the samples, but you could think of a thousand reasons for delays.
As long as you have a sample from each cousin, it shouldn't be much of a problem figuring out which family he belongs to.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #4
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Paternity testing generally runs 4-6 weeks for DNA analysis. But you need something to compare it to, as in the parent's DNA. Familial matches are easy, distant cousin could show almost no definitive match or fairly close maternal DNA lines.

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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The whole idea is that you have these 2 families. tons of them in the town. So everyone has a cousin, a 2nd cousin, a 3rd.... ect.

Now they have this young boy who they're pretty sure belongs to either family A or B. Not everyone in both families agree to the testing. Nobody tested will be immediate family. The man in charge of one family might be the great uncle. Or it could be his 3rd cousin was the grandfather. No linkage to the mother's side at all. However, Money wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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If you want to absolutely confirm his heritage (as in, it can stand up in a court of law), you have to use paternity testing, which means you need a parent's DNA sample.

While it wouldn't be acceptable evidence in court, SNP and STR testing available through standard genealogical tests (see here) could essentially tell you the probability that 2 people shared a common ancestor. If the test is thorough enough you could get probabilities on the order of 90-99% that two people shared a common ancestor less than 3 generations ago. If you find some good SNP groups or good STR consensus, you could be almost certain.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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There would be no parents available. The assumptions are that he belongs to one of two families. He possesses supernatural abilities that only these two families seem to possess. No parents available for testing, or siblings. Just distant cousins and uncles.

How long can I stretch out believability that nobody knows whose family he belongs to?
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post
There would be no parents available. The assumptions are that he belongs to one of two families. He possesses supernatural abilities that only these two families seem to possess. No parents available for testing, or siblings. Just distant cousins and uncles.

How long can I stretch out believability that nobody knows whose family he belongs to?
Depends on how the family's intermix and whether they wed outside the families or only inside. Female ancestry can be tested for separately using Mitochondrial DNA. So if he share mDNA with some cousins on his mother's side that could nail things down. On the other hand if his mother is from outside the families this would be of no use at all.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Due to a curse, it's unusual but not unheard of to have girls born into the family. When they do have a girl, and the girl got married, it was always to a 6th or 7th cousin. But the men often marry people outside of the family. But nobody would know who the father is or the mother. So mother's DNA not an option. They don't know who she is, so no family memeber on her side.

As far as the men, they just want to know if he's distantly related to family A or B. They can compare his dna with people who could be cousins many times removed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Any cool buzz words that I can use to explain it would help too please.

Thanks everyone for their input!
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:47 PM   #11
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So who is his closest living relative? because that will determine the closest match they will get.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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They don't know. They're guessing since he has an ability that he must be related to wither family, but from some member that may have dissapeared years ago. Like my 2nd cousin goes missing, got someone knocked up, that resulted in a son, who years later had another son, and this is the result. But they really don't know who.

That's the point.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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You need to know, to give correct DNA results for the story--that's my point.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:06 PM   #14
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Well, in the end the kid isn't related to either family as they originally thought. What I'm trying to figure out is how long it would be before they would know that. Or how long would it be reasonable to continue trying to figure things out? Could that last a month? 2 months? 3 months?
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:51 PM   #15
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If he is not related at all the tests would should only the random number of allele matches. If something like child custody or a court case is involved I think 8 weeks would be the outside. If not it could take upwards of forever depending on which lab gets it and how busy they are. Other jobs could keep jumping the queue.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:46 AM   #16
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This isn't a DNA question, per se, but I'm trying to figure this out. Is there a legal reason they need to know? As in to try to determine custody? Or is it just that they think he's a member? Why is it important that they know?

I'd personally find it kind of odd to have a DNA test run unless there was a good legal reason (writing someone into a will or determining custody or something like that). Who insists on finding out? I'm just thinking maybe someone thinks he's a member and it takes a while before someone else takes it seriously enough to actually try to check?

Maybe he looks similar to a family member on one of the sides so they think he's one of them, but it's not until later on that an elder family member tries to find out for sure? It could give you as much time as you'd need.

I think I'm just not quite understanding what you need, but I have a lot of thoughts as to how this could work out.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:44 PM   #17
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The premise is that there are these 2 families who have a feud going back generations. The hatred was so great that they attracted the attention of some supernatural thingies that tricked them into a curse. The results are that as long as both families remain, then neither will know peace. But to keep them warring and not wiping each other out, members of each family often are born with abilities. Now both families really aren't bad as a whole, but they've lived in fear that the other family might some day attack. So they keep their abilities a secret.

They have lost track of certain family members from time to time. So when they realize this boy has abilities, the assumption is that he has to belong to one of the families. But they don't know which one. The boy has no idea what his last name is.

So the dna would be the overall family trying to claim the kid, even though the main characters don't care.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:26 PM   #18
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just throwing it out there that the paternity testing that i have been witness to was not a blood test, but a long qtip looking thing that the lab used to swipe the inside of the persons cheek (the alleged father and the child)
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