Who's your daddy?
Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:59 PM
Pharmacy chain markets DNA paternity tests in 30 states nationwide
By JoNel Aleccia
After two decades, Sean Reid of Surrey, British Columbia, discovered that he had a son. Fred Turley of Des Plaines, Ill., learned he didn’t have a daughter. And Wendy Lieb of Lewis Center, Ohio, made certain she wasn’t going to be a grandmother quite yet.
In all three situations, crucial genetic information altered the lives of the people involved. And in each case, it came not from a doctor or other medical source, but from a $29.99 kit on a drugstore shelf.
Reid, Turley and Lieb are among more than 800 customers who responded to the first wave of marketing for do-it-yourself DNA paternity tests sold as Identigene by Sorenson Genomics of Salt Lake City.
Sales in three western states — Washington, Oregon and California — were so brisk last fall that Rite Aid Corp. expanded the product this week to some 4,300 stores in 30 states across the country.
“The running joke is that we’re the Maury Povich family,” said Reid, 37, who confirmed years of speculation about a former girlfriend’s son with a kit purchased at a Bellingham, Wash., store. “But why not do it privately? We did this as discreetly, as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.”
For users like Reid, the tests provide easier answers to one of life’s crucial questions — Who’s your daddy? — said Douglas Fogg, chief operating officer of Identigene.
“Everyone is purchasing the tests because they’re curious,” said Fogg, who expects to sell at least 52,000 tests this year. “They’re looking to establish questions about their own child or their own paternity.”
But for genetics experts, drugstore marketing of DNA testing raises questions of accuracy and ethics.
“From our perspective, direct-to-consumer genetic tests raise all the same issues for lax government oversight, potentially misleading or false advertising and the potential for making profound medical decisions on the basis of poorly interpreted or understood results,” said Rick Borchelt, a spokesman for the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University.
At the very least, the kits have the potential to complicate the lives of the people who use them, legal experts cautioned.
“We all need to take a step back and realize that this is different than many tests that you take,” said R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “This is a life-changing moment.”
DNA tests join other diagnostic tools
The paternity kits have taken their place on store shelves next to other diagnostic tests that don’t rely on DNA, including those for pregnancy, HIV and blood sugar, said Michael S. Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics.
Unlike genetic tests for health conditions, tests that use DNA to determine paternity are fairly simple to provide and fairly easy to interpret, said Watson. They're subject to limited oversight, however, with no review required by the Food and Drug Administration and no certification required under the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, or CLIA.
The Identigene kit includes swabs for collecting cell samples from the inside of the cheeks of the child and the alleged father. Collection of the mother’s cells is optional, but strongly recommended to strengthen the results. The swabs are packaged and mailed to the Sorenson laboratory in Salt Lake City where they’re analyzed.
The Sorenson lab is accredited by the AABB, the agency formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks.
Results are reported online, by phone or by mail in three to five business days. They come back as a probability figure that verifies paternity with 98 percent to 99 percent accuracy, Watson said.
Total cost is about $150, including the price of the kit and a $119 laboratory processing fee. For another $200, users can purchase validated tests that meet legal requirements for determining paternity, Fogg said.
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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:23 PM
The Fantastic Four
Will "Fresh Prince" Smith
Sedrick "Man-Child" Ellis
Bobby The Animal" McCray
Sir Charles Grant
Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:24 PM
Posted 28 March 2008 - 05:11 PM
everything is good and it's gonna be that way forever
Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:00 AM
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