Friday, March 28, 2008

Who's the Daddy?

…Isn’t Maury Povich the guy who does the paternity tests and then springs the results on his guests? Well, he's out of work.

….Writing in the Philly Inquirer, Faye Flam and Tom Avril says Rite-Aid now offers at-home paternity tests.

…So far, these are available on the West Coast and in Penn, NJ, and 27 other states, along with the District.

…They cost $29.99 plus a $119 lab fee and involve scraping cells from Mom, the kid, and the assumed Dad. Or should that be accused?

…The cheek swabs gather up so-called junk DNA, which varies from person to person even more than the kind in your genes.

…It’s based on something called short tandem repeats, differences in the sequence of chemicals. Most DNA tests look at 13 places in the chain, while this test (Identigene) looks at 16, the authors say.

…Paternity is more complicated than this (and scientists are probably spewing at this explanation) since you are comparing three people. With good samples, though, it can be 99.99% accurate.

…Sometimes, a child’s DNA may have novel mutations—and other tests are needed to prevent a false negative.

…Both men and women are buying the tests in equal numbers. That’s interesting—maybe it indicates Dads are trying to get some say in the kids’ lives.

…Or the opposite—the kid isn’t mine and I will buy the test to prove it.

…Sometimes the tests are used to see if a child’s newly found birth parents are really his or her parents.

…Someone said people might buy them as a joke. Yeah,pretty funny stuff. Only involves love, money, honesty, and a child’s future.

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