In three to five working days, you can now get results of DNA (paternity) tests in Nigeria for N60,000, courtesy of HumGene Ltd!
Maryam Ajikobi, Canada-trained geneticist who is the CEO/Managing Director of HumGene Ltd explained that the samples are collected here in the company, then ferried to Canada and analyzed and sent back with 99.99% accuracy.
She told encomium.ng about her foray into paternity tests and the processes involved…
Why and when did you develop the interest in DNA testing?
I developed an interest in DNA testing in 2013 when I went to McGill University, Canada to study MSc in Human Genetics. My reason for developing an interest in DNA testing is because, in Human Genetics, the main thing we use is DNA. I started thinking of different things I could use DNA for, and one of the so many that came to my mind includes DNA paternity testing.
Why and when did you bring the service to Nigeria?
I started collecting samples from clients in Nigeria and they were being sent to me in Canada since November 2016. I finally came to Nigeria to set up the company in September 2017. The reason I brought it to Nigeria is that there are so many Paternity cases that are being sent abroad. This makes it more expensive, and my plan is to make it affordable and available. Since I’m professionally trained to do that, I decided to take the bold step.
How much does it cost?
At HumGene Limited, the cost of DNA paternity testing for alleged father and child is N60,000, and each extra person is N40,000. We do maternity test as well, in cases whereby the whole family is involved. For example, for immigration verification procedure.
How is the test conducted? And how long does it take?
The test is conducted by first taking the sample from the client. In our case, the sample we use is buccal swabs. The DNA will then be extracted, followed by PCR and analyzed using different methods. Our partner company use the genetic analyzing machine for the analysis.
How long does it take for the result to come out? And why are the tests analysed in Canada?
The result normally takes 3 to 5 working days to be ready. The reason I’m still sending the samples to Canada is that my equipment are yet to be put in place and I need a 24-7 electricity which I also need to put in place. Moreso, I will need to make sure I get more volumes of the samples at a time to be able to make it cheaper than what it is now, this is because the reagents are expensive. For example, the quantity of reagents that I will use for 10 samples can be used for 1,000 samples.
How reliable are the results of the tests?
They are very reliable, the method used is the best and 22 loci region which is the highest is what we use. It’s either 99.99% as the father or 0%.
What scientific methods are used in the test?
The final analysis is done using the genetic analyzing machine.
Why must children have same blood group with either father or mother?
Blood group is the result of an interaction between the DNA of mother and father.
How do you counsel clients before and after the tests?
I start by hearing their story. The counselling depends on a case by case. Counselling after the result is done when the man happens not to be the father of the child, this is also done on case by case basis.
What are the most surprising and shocking cases in DNA community in Nigeria and abroad?
Several researchers peg the non-paternity rate (the percentage of men who think they are the biological father but are not) at 10% worldwide. So, that means 1 in every 10 fathers is not the biological father.
Another interesting statistic is that 29% of the time when a man questioning paternity takes a paternity test, he will find his suspicions confirmed. This means that nearly 3 of every 10 men who have a paternity doubt are not the biological fathers.
What’s the percentage of fathers who are not biological parents of children they have raised?
I don’t have a fixed figure, but according to research, it’s up to 30%, based on the results I have been seeing lately. I will say it might be higher than that.
Are Nigerians more promiscuous and unfaithful, and pass off other’s children to their spouses more than other nationals?
I won’t say so. Being promiscuous and unfaithful is common in a lot of countries and not Nigeria alone.
Which are the worst cases of DNA tests commonly mentioned, where the father is not biologically related to his children?
The worst case I have seen so far is 4 children where the father is not biologically related to them. It’s very difficult to break such news, but I must do my job. I’m getting used to it now.
When will tests be analysed in Nigeria?
I’m looking forward to starting before the end of the first quota in 2018, this will still depend on the average number of volumes that are being received.
How can clients reach you?
My clients can reach me by calling 08107519982, WhatsApp, +14389855422, or at the office: HumGene Limited, 1st floor, 4 Wilmer Street (beside Isheri Police Station), Berger, Lagos.