Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Death of Daytime Television

I know it's going to break the hearts of the millions who can't go through the day without Jerry Springer or Maury Povich, but it looks like the duo's favorite show topic is going to be passe' in the near future.

With the advent of the new mail-order DNA paternity test kits offered by Fruth Pharmacy, all those poor gals who can't figure out which one of the guys they've been hanging out with is the father of little junior will be able to figure it out without the help of Springer.

Rather than airing their dirty knickers on television, they can make the suspect daddies pay a small fee to get off the "you-pay" list.

Yeah, I know you're laughing if you've ever watched one of those shows. These DNA tests won't make a dent in the number of people who just can't wait to spend the night in the big city and get treated like king and queen for the day just to scream at each other in front of millions... I'm not really blond enough (and I really am blond) to think these cheap DNA tests are going to make a dent in Povich and Springer's line-up of women who can't figure out who fathered their child. Besides people don't really give a flip who the father is, they just like the yelling and screaming and fighting.

I do think the advent of reasonably priced mail-order DNA tests could lead to some really interesting stories though.

Picture this. John Edwards is comfortably snoring one night at whatever hotel he's hanging out at lately. He snorts, then swats at something tickling his mouth. Sleeping soundly, he rolls over and continues snoring.

What was it? His so-called-ex-girlfriend's little sister snuck in and quickly swabbed the inside of his mouth. She's already managed to swab Edward's maybe-maybe-not child's mouth the last time she stopped over to visit sis. Send the swabs off with a forged consent form and viola, a few weeks later the world knows who fathered the child. If sis, who has been pushing Edwards to take a paternity test, isn't brave enough to snitch a swab, you know some enterprising reporter will somehow find a way to get that q-tip in Edward's mouth!

These DNA tests could open up a whole new world of possibilities. Mom's making their daughter with the protruding belly's classmates line up for the test... (think huge lawsuits, too ;-)... New mouth-guards for sleeping dads who want to avoid being tested against their will... Women taking swabs for safekeeping prior to sleeping with guys... (bet that would cut down on casual encounters!). Parents requiring DNA tests from those wanting to date their daughter...

It has more applications than just finding out who's the dad of a hapless child. There are many children who wonder if they were adopted. DNA would answer the question if parents wouldn't tell (I'd think just the threat of a DNA test would open zipped mouths!).

What about those women who wonder if hubby is the father of their neighbor's child, or the secretary's child, or whoever? Have little Suzy or Johnnie over for cookies, get the swab and have what's needed to confront the philandering husband.

Taking this one just a bit further out on the limb of potential, will there come a day when we're all required to provide DNA? When babies DNA is harvested at birth (I believe DNA degrades after a period of time so, if that's true, technology would have to improve for long-term storage). Can you imagine having DNA for every living person alive at some point? It would make it just a bit easier to catch some criminals, and it would make some criminals a bit more careful.

That's one of those far-fetched scenarios (I hope), but this DNA thread is one that can be followed in numerous directions.

Life changed for many when this testing became easily available and I bet you slept through it just like I did...

Here's the story that brought this ramble on (thanks Ann for sending!):

Fruth Pharmacy Begins Retail Sales of Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kits in West Virginia and Southern Ohio Stores

Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit Enables Fruth Pharmacy Customers to Get a Definitive Answer to Paternity Questions Through a Fast, Affordable and Confidential Process. Fruth Pharmacy, Which Has Been Serving Local Communities for More Than 55 Years, Will Sell the Product in the Family Planning Aisle

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Identigene today announced that Fruth Pharmacy has begun over-the-counter retail sales of the Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit. Fruth Pharmacy, which has been serving communities in West Virginia and southern Ohio since 1952, will offer the new product in all of its 25 stores. The Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit provides participants with an answer to their paternity question quickly and with probabilities of paternity greater than 99.99 percent. It is the first DNA test ever sold in major retail outlets.

Prior to the advent of the Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit, the generally accepted method of obtaining a DNA paternity test often required court involvement, weeks of waiting for results, and a cost of multiple hundreds of dollars. Identigene’s retail kit makes the process a convenient and affordable service available in the family planning aisle of the local drug store.

More than 50,000 Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kits have been purchased since they were first offered in a retail store test market on the West Coast only nine months ago. “The neighborhood pharmacy is a completely new sales channel for DNA tests,” said Identigene COO Doug Fogg. “Because it is a convenient and familiar place for customers to purchase products they rely on, people who have a paternity question are taking advantage of its availability in drug stores to get a reliable answer quickly.”

The Identigene DNA Paternity Test uses samples of cheek cells collected from the inside of the mouth of the child, the mother and the alleged father using swabs provided in the kit. The sample swabs, consent forms and a lab fee are sent in a postage-paid envelope to Identigene for processing. Results are available within three to five business days of receipt at the laboratory. An option is also available for retail customers who want to use test results in legal proceedings that provides specific sample collection methods to secure chain-of-custody procedures for the samples.

Suggested retail price for an Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit is $29.99. The laboratory processing fee for the personal peace-of-mind test is $119. The processing fee for test results for use in legal proceedings is $319, which includes the lab fee.
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