DNA Diagnostics Center Press Release
Fairfield, OH. April 10, 2007—DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) announced Tuesday results of the DNA test conducted in the paternity case surrounding Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern. Dr. Michael Baird, DDC’s Laboratory Director, provided the results—confirming Larry Birkhead as the biological father of Dannielynn—to the presiding judge in the Bahamian court proceedings.
DDC has been working with Birkhead and his attorneys since October 2006—initially with lawyers in California, and later in Florida and the Bahamas. On March 20, Dr. Baird was appointed by the Bahamian court as its DNA expert.
DDC has a long history of working on high profile paternity cases, according to DDC spokesperson Jim Hanigan. “DDC maintains strict operating standards that ensure our client’s confidentiality with each case,” he says. “It’s very rare that we are able to talk about a case, which is a personal matter for many. We’re only able to talk about this case now because of how it played out in the media.”
Dr. Baird is not new to the media world. One of his TV appearances was during the OJ Simpson trial, when he served as NBC’s media consultant.
Dr. Baird has been unable to comment on this paternity case until Tuesday, despite numerous media requests. “We have a very strict client confidentiality policy already in place, but especially in high profile cases like these, we have heightened security in the laboratory. Despite all the media attention, we maintained absolute silence.”
This silence has served DDC’s clients well over the years. DDC has provided over 850,000 confidential DNA tests to private clients in its 12 years of operation. This confidentiality, combined with its stringent testing process and highly experienced DNA experts, has placed DDC at the forefront of the DNA testing industry.
“To ensure absolute accuracy in its test results, DDC uses a Dual Process™, which starts as soon as the laboratory receives the DNA samples,” says Dr. Baird. Samples for each case are divided and simultaneously tested by two separate laboratory teams. Afterwards, the results are examined by two DNA analysts to ensure data consistency. The test reports are then approved and signed by one of DDC’s Ph.D. scientists.
Dr. Baird, who is the first DNA expert to testify in a U.S. court, was upheld by the Bahamian court as the DNA expert for the Birkhead paternity dispute. He has flown to Florida and the Bahamas a few times over the course of the court case.
“This case was extraordinary in many ways,” says Dr. Baird. Because of the court process, it took about 6 months—since DDC came into contact with the Birkhead camp—to see the case to fruition.
A typical paternity test takes 5 days or less to process in the laboratory. A paternity case starts when a client calls into DDC. Client service representatives work with the client to coordinate the DNA sample collection appointment, which can often be done on the same day. With DDC’s network of collection sites in the US and worldwide, clients are able to choose collection sites close to their home or work, with separate appointments if necessary.
DNA samples are collected using buccal swabs, a non-invasive procedure that has become the preferable standard to blood, which was the sample required several years ago. Once the samples are taken at the collection site, they are sent to DDC’s laboratory for analysis, and the results are released in 5 days or less.
DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) is the world’s largest provider of private paternity tests. Since 1995, DDC has performed hundreds of thousands of genetic tests for clients around the world. DDC offers comprehensive DNA testing services in several specialty areas: family relationship testing, forensics, and veterinary DNA testing. As the leading force in the private DNA testing industry, DDC was one of the first to adopt robotics technology in its laboratory processes for stringent and efficient handling of DNA samples. DDC’s unique Dual Process™ ensures results of unmatched quality and reliability.
DDC’s quality DNA testing services are nationally and internationally recognized by a number of professional accrediting organizations such as the Forensic Quality Services (FQS-I, ISO/IEC-17025), the AABB, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors–Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB-International), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).