August 11, 2005

British Study: The Kid Is Not My Son?

According to news reports of a new study of DNA paternity testing in the UK, nearly 4% of men turn out not to be genetically related to the kid they think is theirs.

Trouble is, that 4% number is a median, and the study is of historical data from other studies over the last 40+ years. Various specific--but unidentified--subject groups had "paternal discrepancy" rates of from 1% to 30%. [30% is probably from the infamously unreliable South Padre Island Spring Break study.] Also, it seems that 1/3 to 1/2 of DNA paternity tests in the UK were instigated by the Childrens Support Agency, which seems to suggest to me, anyway, that these were cases where paternity was in question.

Net net: it's not entirely clear to me that 4% of all kids are the mailmen's or her trainers', so relax.

But just in case, in Red Herring's report on this story, they helpfully give the names of a couple of DNA testing companies who would benefit from increased testing. Identigene of Houston, TX, is privately held; Helix Biosciences has been acquired by Orchid Cellmark [NASD: ORCH]

One in 25 fathers 'not the daddy'
[bbc]

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