The United States is a trend-setter in many areas: fashion, technology, transportation to name a few. We also can boast the broadest and strongest medical technology sector in the world, which includes the emerging field of DNA research.
DNA testing is an exciting and evolving frontier, with weekly news stories describing potential breakthroughs. An area that has been established for over 15 years is that of DNA paternity testing. In fact, the same technology and ‘markers’ used today were developed in the late 1990’s.
No country is as heavily invested in DNA paternity testing than the United States. We have entire departments in each state dedicated to the establishment of paternity. We have hospital training programs dedicated to identifying and soliciting signatures from unmarried dad’s just after birth—called Paternity Opportunity Programs. This stemming from a need to hold individuals responsible for their actions, and a state government’s demanding that the cost of child care fall on the father, not the state.
This is not always the case in other countries, where the culture may not place a high priority on identifying the men responsible for fathering children. In fact there are still countries where it may be the norm for men to have multiple families, and the need for “proof” of paternity is not necessary.
With the growing middle class of countries like India, there are changes in consumer behavior. With the added wealth spread across this growing middle class has come the appetite for the West’s technologies—like DNA testing. The price for the testing has decreased simultaneous with new demand, and one can look to the news to find a growing number of stories related to the subject.
Take this story from The Hindu. It’s one of many stories from India, although this one has a unique twist. It is often the case that a “child” will try to establish paternity with their biological father seeking financial gain. In this case, the 73-year-old father is trying to establish the paternity of a celebrity daughter, Lissy, in order to receive “maintenance,” or monthly compensation, as his health is failing, and proper care is expensive.
Here is another, talking about the shared duty (and technology) between a forensic laboratory and paternity testing. Establishing a DNA profile can be used to match samples, as with forensic testing, or comparing samples, which can establish biological relationships.
India has a huge population, and a growing middle class with disposable income—which can be used to pay for testing, as prices continue to decline. It’s safe to say DNA paternity testing will play a bigger and bigger role in India in the future, as an indicator of future growth can be found in articles on the subject. We’ll continue to monitor and update our readers on newsworthy paternity tests.