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The results of paternity DNA testing are based upon statistical calculations of probability.

These calculations can be done in straightforward cases comprising an alleged father, a mother and child (trio) or in complex cases in which the alleged father is absent or deceased, so that information from his first degree relatives must be analyzed to reconstitute his genotypes.

In 1908 the englishman G. H. Hardy and the german W. Weinberg independently concluded that, in the absence of factors which cause mutation or selection, the relationships between the allelic frequencies and the genotypic frequencies in a population remain stable between generations, forming an equilibrium. This became known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (HWE).