Nearly every part of the human body contains DNA or genetic information. Our body is made up of cells that have DNA in them. Also, each of these parts will always contain the same genetic material.
Does hair have DNA? The answer is yes, hair does contain DNA. Hair is one of the more reliable pieces of forensic evidence. It can be used to test DNA for things like paternity or even forensic evidence for criminal cases.
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In this article, I will explain the concept of DNA and DNA in hair. Aside from this, I will discuss the use of hair in DNA testing as well.
DNA is the acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid. These are strands of molecules in our cells that contain genetic information and tell the cells what proteins to produce. All of our traits, including hair color, hair texture, eye color, and skin color, are dictated by our DNA. We inherit our genetic material entirely from our biological parents.
DNA In Hair
While hair does have DNA in it, certain conditions have to be met. For instance, cut hair or hair that has been shed do not contain any DNA. The hair strand must have the follicle attached for there to be any genetic information. It is also better if a little bit of scalp skin is attached to the hair follicle. Also, freshly plucked or ripped hair is way more reliable than old hair.
Using Hair For DNA Testing
Since hair contains DNA, it is also often used for DNA testing. It is less painful and easier to pluck a few strands of hair as opposed to drawing a blood sample.
Hair is usually tested for DNA for two different purposes, which are:
Paternity or Maternity Testing
Paternity and maternity tests are genetic testing types that confirm the biological relationship between a parent and child. In more rare cases, it can also determine if someone is a biological grandparent. These tests are often performed in cases of lost or abandoned children. Some people might request a genetic test if they are not sure about who their father is.
Siblings can also test their DNA using hair to see if there is common parentage. However, this is slightly less accurate than paternity and maternity testing. Sibling DNA testing is much more effective if the parents are also known.
Forensic Evidence For Crimes
Crime scene investigators also use hair as forensic evidence. Back in the day, it was very difficult to find the culprits of crimes. Fortunately, with the development of forensics and technology, the process is easier than ever.
If the hair is found at a crime scene, they will be a part of the evidence. Should there be any DNA in the hair, the forensics team could pinpoint exactly who was at the scene. Aside from hair, skin, teeth, blood, and bones found at a crime scene can also help with investigations.
Since almost all cells in our body contain DNA, hair is no exemption. The proteins in our hair are beneficial for genetic testing to determine biological relationships or for forensic investigations.