DNA paternity testing in Zimbabwe - Emerging paternal discrepancy trends and demographic patterns
Paternal discrepancy is a major cause of marital and legal challenges in society. Data on its prevalence in most countries is however limited. This study reviews 851 DNA paternity tests conducted from 2014 to 2019 using 16 and 21 STR marker kits on the Thermo Fisher platform in Zimbabwe. The average paternal discrepancy was 32.8 %, and of these cases 83.21 % were revealed through peace of mind tests whilst 16.79 % were court ordered tests. Of the 851 tests, 66.22 % were male children, suggesting stronger interest by social fathers in ascertaining paternity of males compared to females. The 31-44 years age group had the highest number of tested putative fathers. The age difference between the fathers and mothers was within the population average of 12.2 years. Trends observed provide baseline design data for research on the scientific, cultural, ethical and legal issues relating to paternity testing in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: DNA test, paternity discrepancy, low paternity confidence