[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Maury}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maurydaddy.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"That baby don't look nothing like me!"]]

It is discovered that a character, or a baby, has a parent whose identity is not known. Solution? Get a DNA test. Prove beyond [[MamasBabyPapasMaybe a reasonable doubt]] who the father really is, and proceed from there. All the other guys who aren't the dad can go home. (Well, unless the real daddy is a GlorifiedSpermDonor and the fake one has actually been there for the kid their whole life. In which case, go take a hike sperm daddy.)

This trope can also occur with mothers, but that's a much rarer occurrence (barring a babynapping, a [[SwitchedAtBirth switcheroo with a different newborn]], or a delivery while the woman is unconscious, the mother knows the baby she just birthed is her own). This test can also be used indirectly to link siblings together. In any case, how long it takes for the DNA test to get finished typically depends on the speed of the [[TravellingAtTheSpeedOfPlot plot]]. The DNA test could present complications: if the bad guys know about the test, they may attempt to keep the [[StatusQuoIsGod Status Quo]] by altering the test results (of course, they must [[KeepingSecretsSucks force other characters into secrecy]] about that, and in any case [[TheReveal it won't last for long]]).

May result in a SurpriseIncest, if the character was in a relationship with someone who turned out to be a relation.

Almost always happens at some point after a LukeIMightBeYourFather revelation. Also happens if a woman decides to have MySecretPregnancy. The TropeBreaker for MamasBabyPapasMaybe.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Very irritatingly avoided in ''Anime/PleaseTwins''. They explain that it "costs too much money" …the episode before they win a lot of money and blow it on a HotSpringsEpisode.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing: Endless Waltz'', Mariemaia claims that Treize being her father has been confirmed through DNA testing. We never actually see the results of the test though, and there is considerable doubt on Mariemaia's parentage all the same. [[spoiler: She is later adopted by Lady Une, who was Treize's then-current girlfriend in the series proper, until Wufei killed him in the final episode.]]
* ''Manga/NarutoGaiden'' does a ''Mommy'' [=DNA=] Test, when Sasuke's daughter, Sarada, begins to suspect that her father's former teammate, Karin, may be her real mother. The [=DNA=] test comes out positive, seemingly confirming this. [[spoiler: But it later turns out that the test was positive because the umbilical cord used as a sample for it was actually Sarada's, not Karin's, so Sakura was Sarada's biological mother all along.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In a story arc in ''Franchise/{{Batman}}: Gotham Knights'' had the villain Bane discovering evidence suggesting that his real father was an American doctor, and, as the doctor has died, seeking a DNA matching test with the doctor's son -- Bruce Wayne.
* A variation in ''ComicBook/HelOnEarth'' When Franchise/{{Superman}} puts his battle-suit on ComicBook/{{Superboy}}, the [[ChestInsignia family crest]] should have changed the instant it identified his Kryptonian bloodline. It stayed the same, confirming Superman's suspicions that Superboy's his clone.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In the final chapter of ''Fanfic/MGLNCrisis'', Fate takes a DNA test and it's revealed that her father is [[spoiler:her adoptive mother's late husband, Clyde Harlaown.]][[spoiler: Though the truth turns out to be ''slightly'' more complicated when she does further investigation in the sequel.]]

* Done in ''Film/{{Elf}}'' to confirm that Buddy is Walter's son.
* The SoBadItsGood movie ''Une chance sur deux'' (Half a Chance): Alice gets a DNA test to find out who her real father is [[spoiler: but she likes the two possible dads so much that she throws away the results.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'' to see if [[spoiler:Linguini is Gusteau's son.]] The testing hit a slight snag when the first sample was identified as "rodent".
* ''Film/BabyMama'' actually has the inverse with a court ordered maternity test. The premise of the movie was that a surrogate mother is artificially impregnated using the other woman's egg and her own husband's sperm. The test is because she has the child rather late after the egg was inserted and it's unclear who the biological mother is. [[spoiler:It turns out to be the surrogate mother's, but it's okay, because she gets pregnant herself by her new boyfriend]].

* Plays an important role in the ''Literature/AdrianMole'' series, where a DNA test reveals that Adrian is the father of Glenn Bott, and later that his sister Rosie [[spoiler:is the daughter of their mother's ex-lover Mr Lucas.]]
* The ''Literature/TalesOfKolmar'' series takes place in a medieval world, but it's apparently possible for a demon to confirm who someone's father is.
* In ''Creator/MaeveBinchy'''s Minding Frankie, the hero tests if he really is the father of the eponymous Frankie. [[spoiler:He finds out he is not, then decides the DNA result does not matter, he is her father in [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming every way that matters.]]]]
* In Malorie Blackman's book ''Literature/BoysDontCry'', Dante takes one of these tests to check that he is really the father of baby Emma, when his ex-girlfriend dumps her at his house. He decides that he'll have to give up his place at college to look after her before the results arrive, even if she isn't his daughter. [[spoiler: She is.]]

* Used to establish that [[spoiler: Christian is the father of Matt]] in ''Series/NipTuck''.
* Series/{{House}} gets a DNA test after his father's funeral, proving that they're not related. Given that they had an extremely tempestuous relationship House is relieved to find this out.
** Amusingly enough, the man House presumed to be his biological father also wasn't. Meaning his mother had [[ReallyGetsAround ''at least'' one more affair.]]
** One episode revolves around House going to great lengths to prove that his patient's father is not the real father and gets both the parents tested. [[spoiler: Turns out both aren't his biological parents and he's adopted.]]
** House also performs a paternity test on one of his 'friends' and his current patient, who told him she's his estranged daughter from an old fling. [[spoiler: House tells the kid that his friend ''is'' her father, but the test result House gets later on turns out to be negative.]]
** Another episode has House trying to prove that at least one of Taub's kids isn't his. Eventually Taub gets the results, [[spoiler:but shreds them without looking]].
* The titular heroine of ''Series/VeronicaMars'' suspects at one point that her real father is her ex-boyfriend Duncan's dad, so she runs a paternity test, which [[UnReveal she shreds without reading]], deciding she doesn't need to know. Later in the season, Keith Mars has his own test done, [[spoiler:which confirms that he is, after all, her real father]]. This is also why [[spoiler:Duncan doesn't talk about the night he and Veronica (who was drunk and roofied at the time) had sex for the first time. He assumes it's because both of them are ashamed of BrotherSisterIncest. In fact, Veronica simply doesn't remember]].
** Also done, though not with a DNA test, with Trina Echols, who was adopted. Trina claimed publicly that she needed a bone marrow transplant to smoke out her real parents. Her mother came forward. Her father was a JerkAss.
* Dorothy and her mom from ''Series/TheGoldenGirls''.
* Sidney and Jack Bristow from ''Series/{{Alias}}'' had to go through this due to speculation that Sidney's biological father was actually Sloane. [[spoiler:Turns out Jack is her real father]].
* In ''Series/MyTwoDads'', ''the dads'' throw away the results, but they needed a little persuading.
* Often featured on sleazy daytime shows like ''Series/TheJerrySpringerShow'', where it's used to determine whether a woman was cheating on her boyfriend/husband with another man or to prove that a man is the father of a child when he denies it.
* These days every other episode of ''Series/{{Maury}}''.
** Led to a CrowningMomentOfFunny when a young mother brought no fewer than a half dozen possible fathers onto the show for testing. After a long drawn-out process of discussing her lifestyle and her complicated parenting situation, the results come back and… '''none''' of them are the father! Like a pack of hounds, all the tested would-be fathers round shouting at the girl. ''"There's even more?!"''
* These days at least once an episode on ''The Jeremy Kyle Show''.
* In ''Series/UglyBetty'', Daniel Meade receives a letter telling him he is the father of Daniel Jr., the child of a French model he met years ago on a business trip. The paternity test reveals [[spoiler:that Daniel Jr.'s father is Alexis Meade, now Daniel's sister.]]
* In the ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink," Dr. Kroger is revealed to have a stormy relationship with his son Troy. Namely, because Troy has made him take three paternity tests because he didn't believe they were related. Also, Randy has arrested Troy on at least one or two previous occasions.
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' averts this--Charlie is, more likely than not, Frank's son, but Frank refuses to have the DNA test.
* A staple of Soap Operas. Count on someone to conceal and/or falsify the results.
* Used on ''Series/LoisAndClark'' when a little boy displayed Kryptonian powers. The boy's mother claimed that Superman was the father, while a shocked Superman protests that he's never seen her before, let alone slept with her. One guy claimed the test wasn't needed, as it must be obvious that Superman is the father. [[spoiler: The boy was human, and the super powers had been transferred to him.]]
* In ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', Earl has Dodge and Earl Jr.'s DNA tested to find out who Dodge's real father is. [[spoiler: It turns out it was him all the time. Earl and Joy conceived Dodge at a Halloween party. It's also revealed that Earl Jr.'s real father is ''not'' Darnell as was previously thought. It's never revealed who his father actually is. WordOfGod says Earl Jr.'s father was supposed to be someone famous, but due to the series' cancellation, they never got to do that plotline.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' a woman appears who thinks Clark is her son and demands a DNA test. Clark gets his SecretKeeper Pete to donate a DNA sample after breaking into the lab, so the results won't reveal that Cark isn't human.
-->'''Pete:''' Man, this "Mission Impossible" stuff is great. But other than my scintillating conversational skills, I still don't understand why you brought me along.\\
'''Clark''' I need your spit.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' has a DNA test done to confirm that the man whose house he inherited was really his birth father.
* Done confusingly on ''Literature/GossipGirl'' in season three with Elizabeth who claims to be Chuck's (supposedly dead) birth mother. Chuck gets a DNA test which proves that she is his mother, but it's implied that the results were tampered with by his [[EvilUncle Uncle Jack]]. As of season four we still haven't found out for sure whether or not Elizabeth is his mother.
* Parodied on ''{{Series/Dinosaurs}}'': due to a mix-up, it's suggested that the Sinclairs accidentally got another family's egg (the one that hatched into Baby) while the other family got theirs. Earl and the other father are subjected to battery after battery of bizarre tests (including a centrifuge)... and then the doctor just takes the blood test anyway. The test said the eggs were switched but it was later revealed it was a mistake.
* Warrick got one on ''{{Series/CSI}}'' just before his death, as part of his attempt to gain custody of his infant son. His colleagues only discover this when they find the test results while retrieving clothes to bury him in.
* High-tech alien version occurs in the series finale of ''{{Series/Farscape}}''. The fact that Aeryn needs to find out who her baby's daddy is forms a major theme of the final series.
** Earlier, Aeryn is convinced that an alien is her long-lost father via high-tech DNA test. [[spoiler: The test results were actually faked.]]
* ''Series/BostonLegal'': A man who was born out of artificial insemination was dating a woman who was born the same way and they were afraid of being [[BrotherSisterIncest half-siblings]]. To learn if they had the same father or not, they sued the lab to force them to tell because a DNA test using only the couple's blood would be inconclusive if they were half-siblings or complete strangers. (Whether this counts as a case of [[DanBrowned the writers failing to do the research]] or just [[ArtisticLicense "Because The Plot Demanded It"]], it's still scientifically incorrect: Half-siblings should be a roughly 25% genetic match, and as such, fairly easy for a DNA test to catch, particularly if they have DNA from either of their mothers.)
* On ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', Abby tests her DNA against the DNA of the woman that she thought was her mother and finds out that she's adopted.
* Drives the plot of the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "Heart of Gold." At the titular bordello, a local petty tyrant forcibly takes a DNA sample from the unborn child of one of the prostitutes, promising to return for the child if it's his (and it is, of course). The madame hires the crew of ''Serenity'' to help drive him off.
* In Series/GilmoreGirls, April shows up at Luke's one day, tells him that she's the daughter of his old girlfriend, and asks for a DNA sample. The unique part is that she only wants to do the test as a science project. The bigger implications of identifying her father seem lost on her at that point.
* On ''Series/TheRedGreenShow'', an old rich guy dies, and since he amassed his fortune by [[ADateWithRosiePalms donating to the local sperm bank]], everyone in town gets DNA tested hoping to get a match, and therefore be entitled to the inheritance. Shockingly, ''all'' of the DNA tests turn out to be exactly the same. Incestuous implications aside, this unfortunately only entitles everyone to a few bucks each since the inheritance has to be split so many ways. [[spoiler:It turns out that this was because [[StickyFingers Mike]] stole all the test tubes, so the testers had to use the lids off pickle jars, and simply ended up testing the chemical composition of pickle juice. The reason this matched the old guy's DNA was because [[TheAlcoholic he was always pickled himself]]]].
* In the later half of Season 1 of ''Series/ShamelessUS'', Monica does one of these to prove that Liam, long believed to be from a fling from a black man, isn't Frank's son. Turns out he really is Frank's son. Of course it then gets revealed that Ian isn't Frank's son but one of his uncle's sons.
* ''{{Series/Moonlight}}'': Mick finds out that he might have a son with a friend's wife he slept with while they both thought his friend was dead. It seems likely at first, given that the baby was born seven months after his friend got back. Mick snabs a sample of the guy's hair and some DNA of his own from his human days for a test. [[spoiler: It shows that Mick isn't his father, and the son was just premature.]]
* On ''Series/ChicagoPD'' Lindsay has always thought she knew who her dad was, even if he was a deadbeat who was never part of her life. After Jimmy suddenly shows up one day, Lindsay's suspicious boyfriend has a DNA test done. [[spoiler:Jimmy isn't Lindsay's biological father.]]


* ''WebComic/BatmanAndSons'' mentions that Bruce is taking care of baby Terry, but not baby Damien, because [[spoiler: Catwoman]] thought to do a DNA test before handing over her kid, whereas Talia keeps Damian to herself and just keeps sending him bills.
* In ''WebComic/SomethingPositive'', [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Davan]] has SexForSolace with the ex-girlfriend of his friend who recently committed suicide. Years later, the two meet up again and Davan finds out she had a son named [[BrattyHalfPint Rory]], whose father is either Davan or the man she dated shortly after their tryst. The test shows that Davan isn't the father, but LawOfInversePaternity kicks in and he becomes Rory's ParentalSubstitute anyway.
* A [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=272 Victorian version]] on ''WebComic/HarkAVagrant''. (Fourth down)
* One arc of ''Webcomic/CaseyAndAndy'' had Jen meet her KidFromTheFuture, who accidentally left a strand of her hair behind. She takes it to the titular MadScientist duo to have them determine who she would have the kid with. The test confirms that the father is her LoveInterest Quantum Cop, though a quick shot from the last panel of the arc teased the (ultimately unused) possibility that the father might have been his evil alternate dimension counterpart, Quantum Crook.

* When Homer on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' wanted to know if his dad was Abe or a lifeguard named Mason Fairbanks. [[spoiler:He wasn't, but Abe switched the labels because Homer seemed too interested in Fairbanks.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks'' episode "The Story of Lando Freeman", Robert Freeman goes on ''Series/TheSteveWilkosShow'', where a DNA test reveals that [[spoiler:the titular Lando is his long-lost son… but this is subverted by the reveal that they lied about the test results on camera, only putting a disclaimer in the credits. Lando's real father is Creator/BillyDeeWilliams.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', [[MadScientist Dr. Sevarius]] does a DNA test on [[AffirmativeActionGirl Angela]] (against her will) and happens to discover that [[TheHero Goliath]] is her biological father. This shocks her and winds up causing some drama, since Goliath follows the gargoyle tradition where biological relationships aren't important.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Eric Cartman had no idea who his father was. Neither did his mother considering the number of possible candidates so a blood test was taken. It was then revealed his father was [[spoiler:his "mother", who was actually a hermaphrodite who had a penis (much to the disgust of the men who only learned when Dr. Mephisto brought it up) and impregnated some woman. Cartman briefly asked who his real mother was, much to the horror of the men who believed they could have been his Dad, but, once Ms. Crabtree the school bus driver, Principal Victoria and the Mayor of South Park were introduced as options, Cartman decided he didn't want to know.]]
** Of course many many seasons later it was revealed that [[spoiler: The whole thing was a ruse, Cartman's mother is actually biologically female, and Cartman's father is Scott Tenorman's father, who Cartman had killed and tricked Scott into eating in a bowl of chili. The reason they hid the truth was because Tenorman was a member of the Denver Broncos and the townspeople didn't want to ruin the team's good season by distracting them with an illegitimate child scandal]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' Kif's BizarreAlienBiology means that when he's "receptive" he can be [[MisterSeahorse impregnated]] by anyone he makes skin-to-skin contact with. Necessitating the use of the Professor's "maternifuge" to determine who the DNA donor was. It was Leela, but by Kif's cultural norms his girlfriend Amy is still considered the "mother" as she triggered his receptive phase, the only reason they bothered with the test was to make sure it wasn't [[GeneralFailure Zapp Brannigan]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/BoJackHorseman'', [[spoiler: 18-year-old Hollyhock claims to be Bojack's long-lost daughter, and they are a DNA match. This trope ends up being subverted in the end of the season when it's revealed that she's his ''sister'', not his daughter, resulting from an affair his father had with the maid.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn, was a tabloid sensation during late 2006 and early 2007, with Smith's boyfriend and several other alleged lovers claiming paternity. A paternity test revealed a former lover as the father.
* Creator/PattyDuke had several lovers over the years, and a test was eventually done to determine the true father of her son Creator/SeanAstin. His father is Michael Tell, but her other lovers Desi Arnaz Jr., John Astin (who official adopted him), and Michael Pierce all helped raise him.