An AABB Accredited DNA Laboratory 
Headquartered in Sparks, NV
Serving the World Since 1990
Genetics · Paternity · Immigration · Forensics

Frequently Asked Questions

Consult the list below to see if your question is common and already answered. Hover over the question to show the answer.

If you have questions about your results, please visit our Interpreting Your Results page.

WHY CHOOSE GENQUEST?

GenQuest has been performing DNA testing since 1990, and has performed thousands of tests for participants all over the world.
Our staff are thoroughly trained in and knowledgeable of the DNA testing process and how it is used for immigration and other US government agency purposes.
As one of the almost 40 AABB accredited laboratories, our testing qualifies to satisfy the requirements of the Department of State and US government agencies for DNA relationship evidence.

HOW MUCH IS A DNA TEST?

GenQuest offers several options for relationship tests, and most tests costs are detailed on our Order Now page. If you are pursing a DNA test for immigration or other US Government Agency purposes, please visit GenQuest Immigration. If you are pursuing a forensic test, these prices vary depending on the customized test process needed and should be discussed directly with a GenQuest representative.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCREDITED AND NON-ACCREDITED TESTING?

None of the testing performed by GenQuest or any other laboratory is accredited—the laboratories themselves are accredited, and depending on whether or not the test’s paperwork and circumstances meet standards and guidelines set forth by the laboratory’s accrediting body, the testing performed falls into categories of non-legal and legal testing.

Non-legal tests are ones which, at some point of the process, do not fall within the scope of the laboratory’s accreditation for the specific testing requested. Personal Knowledge tests are non-legal, are often done for peace of mind purposes, and cannot be used in a court of law. This is mostly due to the fact that collections for these tests may be performed by the participants of the test in the comfort of your own home and are not collected by an unbiased third party with a complete chain of custody and identity verification.

Legal tests are ones which fall within the scope of the laboratory’s accreditation for the specific testing requested. Court Admissible tests are legal, include a full chain of custody, are admissible in court, and are accepted by US Government Agencies for relative petitions, visa applications, and other immigration purposes. Court admissible tests and tests for US Government Agencies (with participants in and/or outside of the US) follow all standards and guidelines set forth by the AABB for accredited relationship testing laboratories. Collections for these tests are performed by an unbiased third party.

Forensic testing is done for a variety of purposes and if submitted with a full chain of custody can be used in a court of law. Samples submitted with a full chain of custody by a law enforcement agency or law firm conform to ANAB standards and guidelines and are legal tests. Forensic testing can also be conducted for personal knowledge; however, these tests will not fall under the scope of GenQuest’s ANAB accreditation.

All samples are treated identically in the laboratory environment at GenQuest regardless of whether or not the collection of the samples meets accrediting body standards and guidelines.

HOW DO I PAY FOR MY TEST? DO I NEED TO PAY FOR IT UP FRONT?

Tests can be paid for by check, money order, credit card, or through PayPal. Cash and debit cards accepted in person only. GenQuest accepts all major credit cards.

Depending on the type of test being requested you may be required to pay the full balance when the samples are submitted or the full balance when the test is initiated. Samples will not be processed until a case is paid in full. Forensic tests may require a non-refundable deposit when samples are submitted.

CAN I USE INSURANCE OR CARECREDIT TO PAY FOR MY TEST?

DNA relationship testing has not been deemed a medically relevant test and is not covered through your medical insurance or by CareCredit.

WHAT IS YOUR REFUND POLICY?

GenQuest will refund any overpayment made on a case. Any client who has paid more than the required deposit but chooses to cancel the case before any testing has been performed is entitled to a refund of anything over their $250 non-refundable deposit.

HOW LONG DOES TESTING TAKE? WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?

Once all samples for a relationship test have been delivered to GenQuest’s laboratory in Sparks, NV and the case is paid for in full, testing will take approximately five to seven business days. Forensic testing can take longer due to the customized test process of each case. Please allow for time after the test is completed for your results to arrive by your preferred delivery method.

Please note that the duration of your case (as compared to the actual testing) may be longer, depending on the circumstances and location of the participants in the case. Many tests with participants outside of the United States can take two months or more to be completed.

CAN I GET MY RESULTS ANY SOONER?

GenQuest offers Priority Processing Rush for an additional fee. Visit our Order Form page for these fees. Processing Priority only applies once the samples are received at the laboratory.

WHAT IS THE TESTING PROCESS?
HOW DO I START A TEST?

Please visit our Order Form or Contact Us to initiate testing and we will inform you on how to proceed.

HOW AND WHERE WILL I BE COLLECTED?

A standard sample collection is done with buccal swabs (cotton-tipped applicators) which are used to swab the inside of the cheek to collect cheek cells. This is a quick, non-invasive, and standard method for DNA collection.

If you are taking a Personal Knowledge test, you can perform the collection in the comfort of your own home. GenQuest will provide supplies and instructions by mail, or you can come to our office to pick up supplies or to have our staff perform the collection for you.

If you are taking a test for court admissible or US Government agency purposes, an unbiased third party will need to perform the collection. If one or more participants are in the Reno/Sparks area of Nevada, the participant(s) may come to the GenQuest facility in Sparks to have our staff perform the collection. If one or more participants reside outside of the Reno/Sparks area, our staff will locate a collection site as close as possible to the participant(s) to arrange an appointment. GenQuest staff will endeavor to make the appointment at a time and place convenient for the client, but in cases where a client resides in a small town or city, it may be necessary for that participant to travel to a larger city for their collection. Additionally, very few collection sites have weekend hours. GenQuest arranges for collections throughout the United States on a daily basis, and are happy to work with you to arrange for a collection outside of our facility. Participants residing in foreign countries will be collected at an appointment arranged by their US Embassy.

Collection at GenQuest is free and we have open walk-in hours from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Collection typically lasts twenty to thirty minutes. If a collection is arranged outside of the GenQuest facility we cannot predict your wait time.

If you are attempting a forensic test, please contact GenQuest for details on sample collection, storage, and transportation requirements.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO MY COLLECTION?

For Personal Knowledge tests, no documentation is required for the collection.

For Court Admissible tests, all adult participants at a collection must bring a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. All minor participants (under eighteen years of age) in a court admissible test must have a birth certificate or, if the person signing consent for the child is not listed on the birth certificate, custody papers or a power of attorney presented, as well as the valid government-issued photo ID of the adult signing for consent.

Any additional documentation needed will be noted before your appointment.

If the above noted documentation is unavailable for any reason, please contact GenQuest to discuss your options.

WHO CAN PERFORM A COLLECTION?

For Personal Knowledge tests, the collection can be performed by anyone.

For all Court Admissible tests, an unbiased third party collector will collect the sample. At no point may the participant(s) have the kit or collected sample(s) in their possession, as this violates the chain of custody requirements and compromises the integrity of the test. The third party collector will be selected by GenQuest.

If you are attempting a forensic test, please contact GenQuest for details on sample collection, storage, and transportation requirements.

DO ALL TEST PARTICIPANTS NEED TO BE COLLECTED AT THE SAME TIME?

No. Participants may go to their collections at separate times and separate places. As long as GenQuest has been provided with the names and contact information of all participants, separate collections for the same test can be arranged.

CAN OTHER SAMPLES (SUCH AS BLOOD, TISSUE, TOOTHBRUSH) BE SUBMITTED FOR TESTING?

GenQuest does accept samples other than standard buccal cheek swab samples. These samples are “nonstandard” and incur additional fees. Please visit our Nonstandard Samples page for details on submitting these samples.

HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP SAMPLES AND DATA? CAN I ADD SAMPLES AFTER THE TEST IS COMPLETE?

GenQuest policy for retaining cases and samples conforms to AABB standards, which dictate that samples and files must be retained for five years, after which time they can be destroyed. During this time all paperwork related to a case and the samples for a case (if not completely consumed in the first round of testing) are stored on site at GenQuest.

Additional participants and samples can be added to a completed case as long as the case was completed within the last five years. If your test is older than five years, it is very unlikely that GenQuest still has record of the paperwork and any remaining samples, and you are advised to open a new test.

WHAT RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE TESTED?

GenQuest can test for a variety of relationships including Paternity, Maternity, Full Siblingship (where the participants would share both parents), Half Siblingship (where the participants would share only one parent), Grandpaternity (with one or both potential grandparents), and Avuncular (a potential aunt or uncle to a child). Non-direct relationships (siblingships, grandpaternity, and avuncular) may not provide conclusive evidence for or against a relationship due to the degree of the potential relationship. Visit our Paternity and Relationship Testing page for more information.

DOES A MOTHER NEED TO BE INCLUDED IN A PATERNITY TEST?

Mothers are not typically included in paternity tests. AABB standards dictate that a Combined Relationship Index (CRI) of greater than 100 provides conclusive evidence for a paternal relationship between an alleged father and child. In rare cases with a paternal mutation, the CRI may be reduced significantly enough to drop below 100. In these cases, GenQuest will advise for the mother to be tested to increase the CRI.

CAN YOU TEST AGAINST A DECEASED INDIVIDUAL?

Yes. GenQuest can test a variety of samples from deceased individuals including, but not limited to, blood cards, buccal swabs, finger or toe nails, and plucked head hair. Please visit our Estate Protection page or contact GenQuest for further information.

HOW ACCURATE ARE THE RESULTS?

When done correctly, with up-to-date equipment and established testing methods, DNA relationship testing is 100% accurate. Through the proper handling, testing, and analysis of samples by competent and trained professionals, accompanied by a strict chain of custody, GenQuest can guarantee accurate results for your personal, court, or US Government Agency purposes.

Many laboratories confuse the term “accuracy” with the probability of relatedness listed on your results. The probability is a statistical measure, based on the likelihood of the biological relationship. In the case of paternity or maternity results where the alleged parent cannot be excluded (meaning the genetic evidence indicates that the biological relationship is true), the probability could be 99.9% or higher. In cases of paternity or maternity results where the alleged parent is excluded (meaning the biological relationship is not true), the probability will always be 0%. This is due to the fact that, if the DNA profiles of the child and alleged parent do not match, there is no chance statistically that the two tested participants are biologically related as a mother-child or father-child relationship. The probability or likelihood for a non-direct relationship, such as siblingship, grandpaternity, or avuncular, are a little more complicated due to the nature of the relationship being tested. You are invited to contact GenQuest to discuss this with an analyst if you have questions about a second degree relationship.

DNA tests will never generate a probability of 100%. To produce a probability of 100%, a laboratory would have to test every person to ever exist in the world. Since this is not possible, laboratories use established population databases to calculate the probability of relatedness.

CAN I USE MY RESULTS IN COURT?

Tests conducted following all standards and guidelines set forth by the AABB (with a full chain of custody on the samples submitted) or ANAB (for forensic cases) are fully admissible in court.

If your test does not meet AABB or ANAB standards (most often due to the collection circumstances), it is unlikely that a court will accept the results and you may have to go through the testing process again with correct documentation. This will incur the full cost of a court admissible test, and you will not be refunded or credited any amount for your previous testing.

HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY RESULTS? CAN I CALL TO FIND OUT MY RESULTS?

GenQuest can send results by mail and email, or you may come to our office during walk-in hours to pick up a hard copy. If you have opted for mail delivery, please allow for transit time after your results are completed. Trackable priority shipping is also available for an additional cost.

Results are never released over the phone, and anyone calling to obtain a copy of the results will have to furnish proof in writing that they are authorized to receive a copy of the results. Authorization must be signed by a participant of the test.

Results may be discussed over the phone after the report has been released, and the caller has verified that they possess a copy of the results.

WHO CAN RECEIVE TEST RESULTS?

GenQuest policy dictates that each participant in a test is entitled to a copy of the results.

In Personal Knowledge tests, a copy of the results will be released to individuals at destinations listed on the test request form.

In all tests with one or more participants residing outside of the United States, no results will be released to the participant(s) outside of the United States unless an email address has been provided. No physical copies of reports are sent outside of the US.

Non-participants who signed consent for any minor in the test will receive results in place of the minor.

If a non-participant who did not sign consent for any participant wishes to receive a copy of the results, a participant must grant authorization to GenQuest to have the results sent to the non-participant. The destination address may be noted on the test request form or the chain of custody or, if the participant wishes to add a recipient after the documentation is submitted, a written note granting authorization may be submitted. This note must indicate the case number, the new recipient and their full address (email or mailing), and include the signature of the participant.

ARE MY RESULTS AND INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL? DO YOU COMPLY WITH HIPAA?

GenQuest conforms to the AABB standards in regards to the privacy of personal information and has strict policies about the personal information of the participants tested by our laboratory. GenQuest does not release your personal information or results to anyone other than involved or authorized parties.

The HIPAA act and its privacy rule apply only to healthcare and health-related businesses. The DNA testing GenQuest performs is not a medical or health-related test and therefore GenQuest does not fit under the HIPAA law.

GenQuest must surrender all information in a case if a subpoena is served.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND MY RESULTS. WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

If you are having trouble understanding what your results mean, you can visit our Interpreting Your Results page, or contact GenQuest. Our staff will be happy to discuss your results and help you understand them.

Was your question not answered here? Contact GenQuest or call our office at 775-358-0652 (toll free 877-362-5227) and our staff will be happy to assist you.