• "The laboratory you select must be accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks(AABB)... Under no circumstances should a third party be involved in the process of selecting a lab, scheduling the appointment, or any other process outlined in the next steps."

    U.S. Department of State
  • "Please be aware that many non-accredited businesses advertise on the Internet as being AABB-accredited. It is important to note that these "resellers" - who are not AABB-accredited - will claim to use an accredited lab for their testing. For the purpose of this request, samples collected from and comparative tests arranged through "resellers" will not be accepted. "

    USCIS - California Service Center
  • "The test must be performed directly through an AABB-accredited facility. Please visit the AABB website (ww.aabb.org) to find an accredited lab, which will also coordinate the testing of the claimed relative - if they reside overseas. Please be aware that many non-accredited businesses advertise on the Internet as being AABB-accredited. "

    USCIS - California Service Center
Home - DNA Testing Industry - DNA Relationship Testing Industry
DNA Relationship Testing Industry

Since DNA technology was widely applied to relationship testing in the 1990s, the landscape of the DNA testing industry has changed significantly, presenting opportunities and challenges at times. This article is a brief review of today’s industry highlighting a few major players.


AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks) is the accreditation and regulating organization for the DNA relationship testing industry. AABB’s relationship testing accreditation program sets the gold standard for relationship testing. The U. S. legal system and government agencies such as child support agencies or the immigration authorities only accept DNA test results from AABB-accredited testing laboratories. There are about 40 AABB-accredited laboratories in the U. S., which are all listed on AABB’s website. Click here to view the complete list of these accredited laboratories.

Promega and ABI

Promega and ABI (Applied Biosystems) are the two main suppliers of reagent kits for genetic identification and relationship testing based on DNA analysis using short tandem repeats (STRs). Both manufacturers participated with the FBI and other crime labs in validating STR loci that was selected as the core loci for the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is used for forensic DNA testing in North America. The 13 loci are also used as the core loci making up each tested party’s genetic profile in biological relationship testing.

ABI is also one of the main manufacturers for automated genetic engineering and sequencing machines found in many DNA testing laboratories.

AABB-accredited DNA Laboratories

There are only about 40 AABB-accredited DNA laboratories in the U. S. These laboratories participate in AABB’s relationship testing accreditation program and receive an onsite inspection every two years in order to stay accredited.

Although not every state has an AABB-accredited DNA testing laboratory within its boundaries, most accredited DNA laboratories have associated specimen collection facilities across the nation.

The AABB-accredited DNA laboratories are the only testing laboratories trusted by the U. S. legal system and immigration authorities to produce legally admissible DNA results.

Non-accredited DNA laboratories

There are many non-accredited DNA testing laboratories offering DNA relationship tests to the public mostly through the Internet. . Since these laboratories are not accredited, they do not have to comply with the same stringent chain-of-custody requirements and laboratory procedures as the accredited ones. Lack of chain-of-custody or less stringent procedures can compromise the accuracy and authenticity of DNA testing results.

Some of these laboratories may claim to be AABB-accredited or to be able to produce legally admissible DNA results for immigration and other legal purposes. The simple fact that a non-accredited laboratory claims to be accredited is too deceiving for anyone to trust its legitimacy or quality. In recent years, AABB has been combating entities that make liberal use of the AABB logo or claim association without the AABB’s accreditation or permission in their misleading advertising campaigns and promotional activities.


As DNA paternity test becomes a household term, more and more businesses see an opportunity to put it on their service menu, acting as a broker to offer the testing services to their local markets. Unlike DNA testing laboratories, these businesses do not have any technical expertise in DNA technology and may not be laboratories at all. They also lack the knowledge and experience to understand the nuances of the testing process for different types of tests, which can compromise accuracy or lead to invalid test results for the client’s intended purposes.

Online direct- to-consumer kits

In recent years, the development of the Internet has made having an online business extremely easy. The evidence of this phenomenon in the DNA relationship testing industry are the numerous online businesses that do not have a physical address and sell the DNA tests as a broker exclusively online.

Many of these online businesses concentrate on selling direct-to-consumer DNA kits at extremely low prices. Their promotional campaign is designed in such a way that the nature of the so-called in-home test is not fully communicated to the clients. Their selling points are typically about the convenience of the self-collect DNA specimen kit, low prices, and the possibility of testing unusual samples taken from the tested parties without their awareness.

In this type of in-home test, there is no proper chain-of-custody for the specimens, proper identification of the tested parties, or correct collection and packaging of the specimens. Often, these businesses will even issue DNA test reports with the names of the participants taken directly from the paperwork which was received with the home collection kit without ever verifying the true identity of the purported test subjects. Many laboratories offering this type of test are not accredited by any regulating body. AABB, which is the accreditation body for the DNA relationship testing industry, does not recognize in-home DNA testing. The in-home tests, which may be offered by an accredited DNA laboratory, do not have to follow the same stringent procedures of chain-of custody DNA. Simply, put, there is no regulation of the in-home DNA testing industry. Therefore, courts and government agencies do not accept any in-home DNA test results.