Detailed Guide on DNA Testing in South Africa


DNA testing has become a vital tool in various fields, including medical diagnostics, forensic science, ancestry research, and paternity testing. In South Africa, the use of DNA testing has grown significantly, driven by advancements in technology and increased awareness of its applications. This guide provides an in-depth look at the different types of DNA testing available in South Africa, the processes involved, legal considerations, and how to access these services.

Types of DNA Testing

1. Paternity Testing

  • Purpose: To establish the biological relationship between a child and a purported father.
  • Process: Collection of DNA samples (usually buccal swabs) from the child, mother, and alleged father.
  • Accuracy: Over 99.99% for confirming paternity.

2. Ancestry and Genetic Heritage Testing

  • Purpose: To trace genetic ancestry and understand ethnic background.
  • Process: Analysis of DNA markers inherited from both parents to provide insights into ancestral origins.
  • Results: Information on ethnic composition and ancestral migration patterns.

3. Medical and Genetic Testing

  • Purpose: To identify genetic predispositions to certain health conditions and diseases.
  • Types:
  • Carrier Testing: For individuals who may carry a gene for a hereditary disorder.
  • Predictive Testing: For determining the risk of developing genetic conditions.
  • Pharmacogenomics: To understand how a person’s genetic makeup affects their response to drugs.
  • Process: Collection of DNA samples and analysis for specific genetic markers.

4. Forensic DNA Testing

  • Purpose: To assist in criminal investigations by matching DNA from crime scenes with suspects.
  • Process: Collection of DNA evidence from crime scenes, suspects, and victims, followed by laboratory analysis.
  • Applications: Identifying suspects, exonerating the innocent, and identifying human remains.

DNA Testing Process

1. Sample Collection

  • Methods:
  • Buccal Swabs: Swabbing the inside of the cheek to collect cells.
  • Blood Samples: Drawing a small amount of blood.
  • Hair, Saliva, and Other Biological Samples: Less common, but used in certain cases.
  • Procedure: Usually performed at a clinic or lab, but home testing kits are also available for some types of DNA tests.

2. Laboratory Analysis

  • Extraction: DNA is extracted from the collected samples.
  • Amplification: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is used to amplify specific DNA regions.
  • Sequencing/Genotyping: DNA is sequenced or analyzed to detect genetic markers or variations.
  • Interpretation: Results are interpreted by geneticists or bioinformaticians.

3. Results Reporting

  • Timeline: Results typically take a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the test.
  • Format: Results are provided in detailed reports, often accompanied by explanations and genetic counseling if necessary.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

1. Consent

  • Informed Consent: Individuals must provide informed consent before undergoing DNA testing.
  • Parental/Guardian Consent: Required for minors.

2. Confidentiality

  • Data Protection: Personal and genetic information must be kept confidential and protected under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
  • Use of Data: Data should only be used for the purposes agreed upon by the individual.

3. Legal Use

  • Paternity Tests: Court-admissible paternity tests must follow strict chain-of-custody procedures.
  • Forensic Tests: Governed by specific regulations and standards to ensure accuracy and reliability.

How to Access DNA Testing Services

1. Medical Facilities and Laboratories

  • Hospitals and Clinics: Many offer DNA testing services, particularly for medical and genetic testing.
  • Specialized Laboratories: Laboratories that focus on forensic, paternity, and ancestry testing.

2. Home Testing Kits

  • Availability: Home testing kits for paternity, ancestry, and some health-related tests are available online and in pharmacies.
  • Process: Kits usually include instructions for sample collection and return shipping to a laboratory.

3. Government and Legal Institutions

  • Forensic Services: DNA testing for criminal investigations is conducted by state forensic laboratories.
  • Legal Aid: In some cases, legal aid services may assist with access to DNA testing for paternity or other legal matters.

Choosing a DNA Testing Provider

1. Accreditation and Certification

  • ISO Certification: Look for laboratories accredited by ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
  • SASQAF Accreditation: Ensure the lab is accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).

2. Reputation and Reviews

  • Client Testimonials: Check reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
  • Professional Affiliations: Consider providers affiliated with reputable genetic and medical organizations.

3. Cost and Accessibility

  • Pricing: Compare prices between different providers, keeping in mind that higher cost often correlates with higher accuracy and reliability.
  • Location: Consider the convenience of the provider’s location, especially if physical visits are required.

Frequently Asked Questions about DNA Testin in South Africa

Sure, here is the information based on the queries related to DNA testing in South Africa:

  1. DNA test price at public hospital:
  • The cost of a DNA test at a public hospital in South Africa can vary. Public hospitals might offer these tests at a subsidized rate or free of charge if they are part of a legal case or required for specific medical reasons. However, for non-medical reasons, fees can range from R700 to R2,000 depending on the complexity and the type of test required.
  1. DNA test at Clicks:
  • Clicks, a popular pharmacy chain in South Africa, offers DNA testing services through partnerships with private laboratories. The cost typically ranges from R1,200 to R3,000, depending on the type of test and the provider.
  1. DNA testing father and child only:
  • Paternity tests specifically for father and child typically cost between R1,000 and R2,500 in South Africa. Prices can vary based on the testing center or laboratory and whether the test is for personal information or legal purposes.
  1. How much is DNA test at Lancet:
  • Lancet Laboratories, a well-known pathology service provider in South Africa, offers various DNA testing services. The cost for a standard paternity test at Lancet is approximately R1,600 to R2,000. Other specialized DNA tests may vary in price.
  1. DNA test South Africa:
  • DNA testing in South Africa is widely available and includes a variety of tests such as paternity, ancestry, and health-related tests. Prices for these tests range from R1,000 to R3,000 depending on the type of test and the provider.
  1. Lancet DNA test price in South Africa:
  • As mentioned, the price for a standard paternity test at Lancet Laboratories is between R1,600 and R2,000. Prices for other types of DNA tests at Lancet can vary.
  1. Home Affairs DNA test price:
  • The South African Department of Home Affairs may facilitate DNA testing for legal and immigration purposes. Costs can vary, but typically, the department collaborates with private laboratories, and fees might range from R700 to R2,000 depending on the nature and urgency of the test.
  1. Is DNA test free at Clicks:
  • DNA tests are not free at Clicks. The cost for DNA testing at Clicks can range from R1,200 to R3,000, depending on the type of test and the provider they partner with.

For precise and updated information, it is recommended to directly contact the respective service providers or visit their official websites.


DNA testing in South Africa is a valuable tool with wide-ranging applications from legal and forensic investigations to personal and medical uses. Understanding the types of tests available, the processes involved, and the legal and ethical considerations is essential for making informed decisions about DNA testing. By choosing reputable providers and ensuring informed consent and confidentiality, individuals can effectively utilize DNA testing to meet their specific needs.