What is the amelogenin sex gene and why is it important for your paternity DNA test? Let’s begin by saying what you already know: paternity testing is the most reliable and accurate means to date of determining paternity.

With an inclusion for paternity in excess of 99.99% and exclusion of 100% if the tested man is not the biological father the accuracy of paternity testing couldn’t be better. We know that parents pass on their genes to their children. The fact that a father or mother shares common genes with their child makes maternity and paternity tests possible.

Scientists carrying out these tests and by comparing the DNA (genes are found on chromosomes which make up our DNA) of father and child they can know if the man in question is the biological father. However, since our DNA contains tens of thousands of genes, scientists only test very specific locations on our genes which we call genetic markers.

The Amelogenin Sex Gene

As the name clearly suggest, this is one of the genes that determines whether we are male or female. However, this gene is not exclusive to either gender and is in fact present on both the male and the female chromosome. However, when DNA is analyzed, the male chromosome (the Y chromosome) shows a much shorter peak than the amelogenin on the X chromosome.

Why is this sex gene tested in a paternity DNA test?

Well to do a home paternity test you need to submit saliva sample using oral swabs. Each person’s swabs have to be packed in a separate paper envelope and labeled accordingly. However, there is chance of human error; test participants make mistake. They sometimes mislabel swabs or place them in the wrong envelope. Thus, for example, in the envelope labeled “mother’s samples” they will place the father’s swabs. Testing the amelogenin sex gene means that DNA analysts will immediately realize there is an error and that swabs have been misplaced.

Your paternity test result (see sample paternity test result) will clearly show the amelogenin sex gene and it will be represented by either an XX (for female) or XY (for male).

When doing an infidelity DNA test, one of the first things you might want to find out is if a suspicious stain you found belongs to a male or a female. Do not always assume partners are cheating with someone of their opposite sex.
As we have seen, testing the amelogenin sex gene is important in paternity testing as well as other DNA tests.

Dilemmas in paternity testing

Taking a paternity test is not an easy choice. It comes with a lot of thought and often some anxiety.  Besides emotional and bonding issues there may be more practical issues at hand such as how to take a paternity test in cases where the alleged father is not available. Read more about dilemmas and issues about paternity testing.