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Forensic Science Division

Parentage Testing Section

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DNA extraction in progress
DNA extraction in progress

Parentage Testing Section has been set up for the purpose of verifying parent/child relationships in connection with immigration-related cases.

The section mainly provides service to persons who claim Right of Abode (ROA) under paragraph 2(c) of Schedule 1 to the Immigration Ordinance. Persons claiming ROA under the provision have to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement (C of E) in such manner as prescribed by the Director of Immigration by notice in Gazette pursuant to section 2AB(2) of the Immigration Ordinance. This Ordinance has been amended to empower the Director of Immigration in the assessment of an C of E application where he is not otherwise satisfied with the claimed parent and child relation on the basis of proof submitted by or on behalf of an applicant to request the application and the claimed parent(s) to undergo a specified genetic test. Pursuant to the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2001, the Director of Immigration, by notice dated 27 July 2001 published in the Gazette, specified a genetic test procedure and designated the Hong Kong Government Laboratory as being responsible for carrying out such tests in Hong Kong. For related information, please check the homepage of the Immigration Department (

Officer using the barcode reader to read the barcode on the exhibit
Officer using the barcode reader to read
barcode on the exhibit

Besides C of E applications, other immigration-related parentage claims may also be submitted to this section for verification.

The Parentage Testing Section applies Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) - based analysis of Short Tandem Repeats (STR) of DNA fragments for the verification of parent/child relationships. For the sensitivity of the PCR technique, epithelial cells collected through the swabbing of the inside of the cheeks of a person provide enough DNA and are used as the sample for analysis. This section routinely analyses 15 STR loci which give a combined probability of excluding paternity greater than 0.9999.



Key Instruments

Thermal cycler PCR amplification system
Thermal cycler PCR amplification system

The following instruments are used routinely by the Section:

  • Photometric microplate reader
  • Thermal cycler PCR amplification system
  • Genetic analyzer











Targets and Key Indicators

Since the enactment of the Ordinance in July 2001, the Parentage Testing Section has set and achieved the following targets and indicators for its service:


Targets are defined as the percentage of completed cases whose individual case-completion time does not exceed a specified number of working day(s)

Category Targets 2019
Parentage testing (DNA profiling) completed within 22 working days (%)@ 90 100 82 90

The figures represent the number of working days lapsed between the reception by the Laboratory of samples for genetic testing and the issuing of genetic data after completion of DNA analysis of these samples within the Laboratory.

Key Indicators

Key indicators are the number of cases investigated

Number of Cases Investigated 2019
Parentage testing 2,583 833 1,800