DNA Paternity Testing Kits On Sale Over the Counter

DNAtestingCollectionKit.jpg

Identigene is selling at-home DNA testing kits for paternity testing at drugstores across the country. The $30 kit includes swabs for the child, mother, and “alleged father,” consent forms, and a mailer to be sent back to the company. You’ll also want to include a check—the lab fees are an additional $120. Results are available in 3-5 business days once the samples have been received.

Only $150 separates you from the truth about your child’s paternity, although you’ll have to pay an additional $250 if you need legal paperwork from Indentigene to be used in divorce, custody, child support, inheritance, or other legal cases.

I’m most touched by the logo on the front, as the sanguine mother holds her child up to inspect it for any tell-tale indications of its true father’s lineage. According to one study, about one in 25 men are not the father of a child they are raising as their own.

Product Page [DNATesting.com via Gearlog]

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21 Responses to DNA Paternity Testing Kits On Sale Over the Counter

  1. Anonymous says:

    A simple comparison of the maternal/paternal and child’s blood types can give you a round about idea of paternity. Granted it’s not specific, it can narrow down the chances if more than one father may be considered..

  2. stevew says:

    Paternity testing may be opening Pandora’s Box.

    See Who’s Your Daddy? by Steve Olson http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200707/paternity

  3. gATO says:

    I thought the kit contained a whole bunch of chemicals and the C.S.I. stuff, but no, just some cotton swabs and an envelope. Meh.

  4. Narual says:

    yeesh. If you could do it with hair, I might just go for it… I look nothing whatsoever like the rest of my family and have always vaguely assumed either a ‘switched at birth’ or that Dad wasn’t exactly “Dad”… it would be good to know the truth even if just for medical reasons. But actually telling my parents that I need a cheek swab to do a DNA test??? perish the thought. They do also have a sibling test, but it’s considerably more expensive. Ah well. :)

  5. Brian Carnell says:

    Interesting. Men are put in an odd situation…in most states if they want to legally dispute paternity they generally have a very short period of time to do so after the bith of a child. Miss that window and you’re legally on the hook for the child even if you later learn you are not the father. (Of course, it doesn’t work in reverse…you can be held legally responsible as the father long after the birth of the child has been born).

    But, of course, “hey, you just gave birth, now lets do a test to see if I’m really the father” is not exactly going to win anyone any points either.

    A discrete paternity test would be very helpful in this situation. But this product doesn’t seem to solve the problem very much since, in order to be reliable, you need to get a cheek swab from the mother. How the hell are you going to explain that?

    A better solution would be to bring laws regarding paternity into the 20th century. They’re really predicated on the pre-DNA era where establishing paternity 100% was never really possible.

  6. spazzm says:

    “But this product doesn’t seem to solve the problem very much since, in order to be reliable, you need to get a cheek swab from the mother. How the hell are you going to explain that?”

    Do it while she sleeps?

    If you’re not sleeping with the mother of your alleged child, there is really not that much need for a test kit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gato, depending on the method of DNA extraction, the chemicals could be highly toxic or carcinogenic. The sample has to be put through a round of PCR and through electrophoresis. Both those procedures require costly equipment (50k for electrophoresis in some cases) and chemicals which have very specific storage requirements (usually very cold and no light).

    They can’t exactly ship all that stuff. Nor does all the fun tech from CSI actually exist.

  8. Brian Carnell says:

    “Do it while she sleeps?

    If you’re not sleeping with the mother of your alleged child, there is really not that much need for a test kit.”

    If you can get a cheek swab from a woman while she’s sleeping, more power to you. I can’t imagine not waking up during that sort of … intrusion.

  9. dculberson says:

    @SteveW: As I read it, that article has some serious flaws in it. If the Y chromosome is passed down “essentially unchanged” through entire racial groups, how the hell do you figure out who is the specific ancestor?

  10. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #4, Trust me, you will struggle to carry out the PCR and Southern blot at home using the contents of a small cardboard box you bought for $30.

    Of course, LAMP, featured recently on the boing is quite promising as a cheap, home-performable substitute. I give it a few more years before we have a commercialised, fully home-performable paternity testing kit.

  11. gATO says:

    Thanks for pointing out all that material to check, my productivity went out the window this afternoon ;)

    I don’t expect a full DNA lab of a $30 box (note to self: work harder on your irony skills), but I find the product’s name a bit misleading; it’s a DNA collecting kit, not a paternity test.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Actually, most of the ‘fun tech’ from CSI does exist. What isn’t legit, though, are instant results from most of their tests, especially ones that use special lab equipment (e.g. electrophoresis, GC/MS).

  13. Kieran O'Neill says:

    I did a bit of research (ie: reading through reagent catalogues) on the Trypanosome test mentioned earlier (the last link in my previous post), and it really can be manufactured for something like $1 per test.

    Of course, that’s just testing for a specific trait, not making more detailed comparisons between individuals, but I’m sure the tech isn’t far off.

  14. Kieran O'Neill says:

    and you’re welcome :)

  15. MarkM says:

    “babydaddy…”
    porkmusket, you kill me.

  16. Hellblazer says:

    I’m going to give at least a couple of these (and perhaps more) out as Xmas presents this year.

    I don’t feel the least bit bad about it, either.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for the happy little kid on the box, whose world might be torn apart because of this test.

    Too melodramatic?

  18. PalePhoenix says:

    Do you think Montel specifically waited to announce his retirement once he was told this was coming on the market in a matter of months?

  19. pork musket says:

    Screw that, Maury will tell you if the man is the babydaddy for free!

  20. hoffmanbike says:

    a nice glass of dna testing to go with the main entree of “the moment of truth.” I’m begining to wonder where we’re going and why i’m in this handbasket…….

  21. spazzm says:

    #11: If you can get a cheek swab from a woman while she’s sleeping, more power to you.

    I’ve never met a woman that doesn’t sleep with her mouth open once in a while.
    Maybe you need to dowgrade?

    Once their mouth is open, you can pretty much stick anything you want in there before their sleep-delayed reflexes kick in.

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