Category Archives: DNA & Paternity

DNA & Paternity

Company Forced to Pay Big Bucks as it Tries to Catch Mystery Pooper

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A company that had an outrageous problem on its hands is now being forced to pay out a big settlement to two employees after it forced them to undergo DNA testing.

Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services, which sorts and delivers inventory for grocery stores in Atlanta, GA, has been ordered by a federal jury to pay employees Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds a combined $2.2 million for forcing the pair to undergo buccal cheek swabs for DNA testing. The testing was performed in an effort to catch a person who had been defecating throughout the company’s warehouse.

While the DNA testing didn’t help catch the mystery pooper (both Lowe and Reynolds were cleared) it did land the company in hot water.

Lowe and Reynolds declined a combined $200,000 settlement offer from the company and instead went ahead with a trial. The trial is the first to seek damages resulting from 2008 civil rights legislation that generally bars employers from using individuals’ “genetic information” when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.

Atlas Logistics claimed the “genetic information” at issue wasn’t covered by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) because the GINA legislation excludes analyses of DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins, or metabolites if such analyses do not reveal an individual’s propensity for disease.

However, US District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that the “plain meaning of the statute’s text” is satisfactory for the case to go forward despite the tests at issue not revealing disease propensities.

Atlas said it is now mulling an appeal and has filed papers demanding that the combined verdicts be reduced to $300,000 for each plaintiff. The law caps damages at $300,000 each, Atlas said in court papers.

Lowe and Reynolds were singled out because their work schedules coincided with the timing and location of what the court termed the “defecation episodes.”

The warehouse firm hired Speckin Forensic Laboratories to perform the buccal swab samples of the plaintiffs to compare them against the fecal matter left on site via Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis.


DNA & Paternity

Forensic Experts Find Evidence of Homicide 430,000 Years Ago in Fractured Skull

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skull neanderthal murder homicide

A joint investigative team from the U.S. and Spain reported what could be the oldest case of homicide in history.

According to the report released in a news article, forensic scientists found a skull dated about 430,000 years ago with two clear and identical cracks on the left forehead, indicating a possible hit to the head. “This represents the earliest clear case of deliberate, lethal interpersonal aggression in the hominin fossil record, demonstrating that this is an ancient human behavior,” the research team noted.

History dates the skull back to the Middle Pleistocene era. The skull was found among with 28 other Neanderthal bodies in Sima de los Huesos, Spain. Using 3D imaging software tools, the ancient fractured skull was assessed for cracks and fracture angles, from which the possible angle of murder or homicide arose. “The same object likely produced the two fractures… Either of the two traumatic events were likely mortal in and of themselves, and presence of repeated blows might imply a clear intention to kill,” the scientists said.

The team behind the discovery represented the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad de Alcalá, and the Centro Mixto de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos in Madrid.

DNA & Paternity

Paternity Rumor: O.J. Simpson Could Be Khloe Kardashian’s Biological Father

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It’s a news bit that circulated years ago, and is resurfacing from new information: Reality star Khloe Kardashian could be the biological daughter of former NFL player O.J. Simpson.

oj-simpson-khloe-kardashianThe link between the embattled ex-NFL player and the Kardashians was made prominent when during the much-hyped Simpson trial, Robert Kardashian served as consultant to the side of the defendant. Simpson’s manager Norman Pardo shared with In Touch Weekly the possibility that “Khloe could be O.J.’s kid.”

In addition, Pardo claims that Simpson did not confirm nor deny this allegation of being Khloe’s real dad. “Whenever I bring it up, he giggles,” according to Pardo. Simpson and his murdered wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, were found to be on vacation with the Kardashian power couple many times in the past. “There was a lot of partying going on back then… Kris cheated on Robert — she was known for having a good time,” Pardo added.

Simpson is still serving a sentence that may stretch up to 33 years in a Nevada cell. The defendant requested the court for his release in connection to another trial. According to O.J.’s manager, should the court grant him the request as early as December, the defendant might spill more beans on this possibility of being Khloe’s daddy.

The best way to confirm this is, of course, through a paternity test. Only time will tell if both parties will agree to be subjected to this confirmatory test.

DNA & Paternity

Survey: Market-Ready Genetic Test Results Still Need Doctor’s Interpretation

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Despite the market availability of genetic testing to determine a patient’s probability in developing health concerns, most U.S. citizens are still relying on doctors’ advice to interpret the results of the gene exam.

Close View of a DNA StrandThis finding was revealed in a study released by researchers at Yale University via the journal Genetics in Medicine. The survey results seem to indicate that despite the accuracy of available genetic tests in the market, patients are still more confident if they send the test results to a physician for assessment and interpretation.

The scope of the study included more than 2,000 respondents who were asked if they thought the idea of making genetic tests directly available to the general public was sound. The results were nothing short of convincing: 65 percent think that the test results must be assessed and explained by a doctor before the patient accepts them as true.

Rene Almeling, one of the study proponents, said through HealthDay that the results of the survey confirm the fact that “genetic risk percentages require interpretation and context”. This also supports the recommendation of the American College of Medical Genetics and the American Medical Association to seek medical advice and consultation before considering the use of these genetic test systems. One of the important things to take into account when examining gene test results is the medical history of the patient, as well as family history and other aggravating circumstances.

Almeling added that “these results are useful for scientists designing studies, clinicians working with patients, federal agencies setting budget priorities and legislators designing regulations.”

DNA & Paternity

DNA From John Lennon’s Tooth Planned As Source Of Beatles Clone

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Imagine all the people, living for today… as clones?

Photo credit: Charles LeBlanc via Flickr

Photo credit: Charles LeBlanc via Flickr

A dentist by the name of Michael Zuk announced his plans to start a project to clone Beatles member John Lennon. His DNA source: The singer’s tooth — specifically a rotten molar — which the Canadian dentist bought at an auction in 2011.

“I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon’s DNA,” shared Zuk in a news release. He said the tooth was already sent to a cloning laboratory in the US, with the hopes of squeezing out any genetic codes that will potentially become the basis of the clone.

This bit of news came weeks after scientists declared plans to replicate the long-extinct woolly mammoth. “With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality,” Zuk said.

The molar was auctioned by the son of Dot Jarlett, who served as Lennon’s housekeeper in Weybridge. Zuk won the bid for a staggering £19,500.

The hopeful dentist is optimistic that people are interested to see the fallen Beatle in the flesh someday. “Many Beatles fans remember where they were when they heard John Lennon was shot. I hope they also live to hear the day he was given another chance,” he said.

DNA & Paternity Drug Testing

New TV Shows Hop on the DNA Testing Bandwagon

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Two new shows have popped up to carry on the torch of what Jerry Springer started and Maury Povich perfected.

Hosted by TV personality Kirk Fox, The Test is billed as a one-hour conflict-resolution talk show that will use lie detector tests, drug tests and DNA tests to settle relationship and paternity disputes among guests.dna

The Test fills a growing niche in daytime television that the audience is really responding to,” said Joe DiSalvo, president of sales at CBS Television Distribution.

The Test has been sold to Tribune Broadcasting and 29 Sinclair Communications stations, among others.

Another show that is using DNA testing as its premise is the aptly-named Paternity Court, which sees family lawyer and legal analyst Lauren Lake act as judge as she hears and rules on paternity cases and renders DNA test results.

The show will be produced by MGM Domestic Television Distribution, and 79th and York Entertainment and will appear on stations from CBS, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Broadcasting, Weigel Broadcasting, Cox Media Group, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Meredith Corporation, Local TV, Journal Communications and Fisher Communications.

It recently began filming and it will premiere on Sept. 23, 2013.

DNA & Paternity

New York Post Drives Mobile DNA Paternity Testing Truck to Town

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As a unique way of celebrating Fathers’ Day last Sunday, the New York Post called the services of a mobile DNA testing truck to check the paternity of willing fathers and children.

Mobile Paternity DNA test from Health Street Who's Your Daddy truckThe paper enlisted Health Street to drive two units of their “Who’s Your Daddy?” Winnebago RVs along the streets of New York weeks before Dads’ special day. The mobile paternity testing facility was offered free of charge for fathers who wanted to confirm their paternity. The Post shouldered the $350 testing fee for the willing volunteers.

The DNA test involves swabbing the inner cheeks of the father and the children, and the results were released days after.

Jared Rosenthal, owner of the Health Street and the mobile testing labs, says that the results that they provide the fathers are “life-changing” and even difficult at times. After all, the test will confirm whether the child in question is really the father’s own or not.

The Post revealed the results of a few men who were willing subjects to the mobile testing program:

  • Junior Dudley, father of five, found out in a period within his marriage that his wife was cheating on him, and she even went as far as sleeping with Dudley’s own brother. They eventually separated in 2012, but the history of his wife’s infidelity haunted him and his perception of his own children. Fortunately, the mobile testing truck confirmed that all five kids were definitely his.
  • Fritz Raymond, a former Marine, has been taking care of his 13-year-old daughter ever since he caught his partner in bed with another man. Because of his partner’s promiscuity, he thought of the possibility that the child he is taking care of isn’t his. The tests, however, showed that he is the biological father, but he later admitted that he hoped that the results turned out negative so that he could sever ties with his ex.
  • Keith Padgett, 53, is the current fiance of 25-year old Shilow Gaillard, who bore a child who is now two years of age. Gaillard was unsure if her child is Padgett’s offspring, because she also slept with two other men in the past. Gaillard and her baby are now living with Padgett, who was confirmed in the tests as the child’s father.
DNA & Paternity

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick OK Not Being Married

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While a lot of couples want to seal their relationship with a wedding, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are fine without having to say their “I Do’s.”

In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Disick describes his relationship with Kardashian as “decently happy” even though they are not married to each other. He said they are both content and don’t find any reason to rush into getting married, the New York Daily News reports.

“I feel like I used to want to get married more than she did, and then, being that she was always so not interested, I’ve decided not to be,” Disick said.

Disick and Kardashian have been dating since 2006. They have two children together, 3-year-old Mason and 8-month-old Penelope.

Recently, the couple’s relationship was challenged when Kardashian’s former fling doubted Disick was the father of Mason.

Michael Girgenti, an LA-based model, apparently told a tabloid that he had an unprotected sexual encounter with Kardashian and nine months later she gave birth to the child.

Girgenti demanded a paternity test to find out Mason’s biological father. A family source later told a magazine that Disick is more than willing to undergo a DNA test to prove that he is the real father of Kourtney’s child.

Alcohol Testing DNA & Paternity Drug Testing Workplace Testing

Snapshots from the DATIA 2013 Annual Conference

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Over 600 drug and alcohol testing professionals gathered in Orlando, FL April 9 – 12 for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) 2013 Annual Conference.

The conference featured 65 exhibitors from the drug and alcohol testing industry, as well as educational sessions on various topics related to drug and alcohol testing, including: Certified Professional Collector Trainer Training; Advanced Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Management; Developing an Effective Supervisor Training Program and Alternative Specimen Collection Training.

Many big names in alcohol and drug testing spoke at the conference.

Barry Sample of Quest Diagnostics Inc. gave a 25 year retrospective of the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, examining long and short – term drug testing trends based upon insights derived from more than 100 million tests performed by Quest Diagnostics over the past 25 years.

Quest publishes the Drug Testing Index as a public service for government, media and industry and it has been considered a benchmark for national drug trends since 1988.

Doug Mullen of Airlines for America talked about aviation testing outside of the U.S. and the implications of the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed regulations that will require some repair station employees outside of the U.S. to be drug and alcohol tested.

A three-member panel with Brian Drew of Nationwide Medical Review, Patricio Labatut of Global Partners Ltd. and Kirk Hardy of The International Drug Detection Agency explored how international drug testing programs in Latin America and Oceania are advancing and the issues which they are currently dealing with, as well as a discussion about iDATIA, DATIA’s international drug free workplace program accreditation.

Also on the subject of international drug testing, Bill Current, with WFC and Associates, talked about how drug testing in countries outside the U.S. is exploding and what laws, health codes, privacy regulations, labor agreements, and best practice standards U.S.-based drug testing providers need to know about to cash in on this burgeoning market.

The DATIA 2013 Annual Conference also featured presentations on drugged driving, alcohol testing, marijuana legalization, DNA testing and implementing a student drug testing policy, among others.

DNA & Paternity

Kourtney Kardashian’s Partner Doesn’t Mind Taking a Paternity Test

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The Kardashians are in for another controversy; this time it involves Kourtney Kardashian and her partner Scott Disick.

OpposingViews reports that Michael Girgenti, an alleged lover of Kourtney, has challenged Disick to take a paternity test to prove whether or not he is the biological father of the eldest Kardashian sis’ child, Mason.

Girgenti claims he had a fling with Kourtney, whom he met during a photoshoot for a magazine, nine months before Mason was born. He apparently wants Disick to have a DNA test to determine once and for all the real father of Kourtney’s child.

While the Kardashians had previously slammed the claims, a source told a magazine that Disick is more than willing to take a paternity test for the sake of putting an end to the issue.

“Of course, Scott will take a DNA test, just to quiet the doubters,” a family source told OK Magazine. “I don’t like what this is going to do to our family. I hope to God it doesn’t go to court.”