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'Who's Your Daddy' RV offers New Yorkers paternity testing

According to a recent report, Americans are seeking close to 500,000 DNA tests per year. Paternity testing, in particular, is a key factor in establishing fathers' rights for many New Yorkers. While in the past such testing has been laborious and time-consuming, new technology has allowed people to test their genetic relationships with ever increasing ease. But are all the tests accurate?

That question may be on the minds of New Yorkers who have seen a big blue Winnebago cruising around city streets. The words "Who's Your Daddy?" and "DNA Testing" are emblazoned on the side of the RV, and finding out your genetic link to someone else starts at the price of $299.

The New York company Health Street started the service in 2010. People on the street can hail the RV as if it were a cab. Technicians in the medically equipped motor home take DNA samples, and within three to five business days, the results are returned. If a test is mandatory, then the prescription can be sent online to the mobile facility.

But, as a teacher at Georgetown Law Center points out, the growing number of types of DNA tests calls into question their reliability. Some tests are more reliable than others, and anyone seeking to prove paternity in a child custody or support case should look into the accuracy of the test.

It is advised that any paternity test used for legal proceedings should be certified by the AABB, otherwise known as the American Association of Blood Banks. The Health Street lab has such accreditation and is also certified by the New York State Department of Health.

Source: Reuters, "FEATURE - Who's Your Daddy? DNA clinic gives answers, sparks concerns," Aug. 23, 2012

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