Prince Harry’s antics in Las Vegas last fall understandably enraged members of the royal family. Sowing a few wild oats may not have invoked such ire if Harry had taken care to ensure the event remained private. However, nude photos of the young prince and a bevy of hookers emerged to the delight of media personnel. The indiscretion soon reached the confines of England’s royal palace. Influenced by her board of advisors, the Queen herself supposedly demanded that Harry undergo DNA testing to determine if he was in fact the product of royal blood.
Lady Diana supposedly had an affair with a military officer by the name of James Hewitt. Many questioned whether the alliance produced the young prince. Like Harry, the gentleman dons red hair and fair skin covered in an array of freckles. According to reports, Prince Charles adamantly prohibited any DNA testing that questioned Harry’s heritage.
Prince Harry Test
In honor of the fun-loving royal, Britain’s DNA now offers couples the opportunity of determining the likelihood of producing a red-haired child. Couples interested in the possibility of passing the red hair trait along to offspring need merely submit a saliva sample for DNA testing. Technicians are able to identify the “ginger gene” by analyzing DNA samples. Dr. Jim Wilson, one of the company’s employees explains that having a child with red hair requires carrying one of three variations of the MC1R gene.
If both parents carry the gene variation, they have a 25 percent possibility of having children with red hair regardless of the hair color of the parents. Passed on from one generation to the next, statistics estimate that four out of every 10 people carry the variation. The company plans to offer the “Who Do You Think You Are?” test during a live exhibition at the London Olympia in February.
Questions Answered by DNA Testing
While DNA testing has long been used for determining paternity, evaluating genetic markers provides a variety of information ranging from ancestry to disease predisposition. Analyzing samples supplied by individuals, technicians successfully separate genetic information donated by each parent. Using worldwide databases, laboratory technicians have the ability of determining the point of origin of genetic material spanning back many generations.
Modern DNA testing identifies when individual’s carry genetic markers associated with over two dozen known medical conditions. Genetic information reveals if individuals carry markers associated with aging processes that might include Alzheimer’s or macular degeneration. Testing also indicates when someone has a likelihood of developing seven different types of cancers. The test might additionally determine the possibility of experiencing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Using this information, patients and physicians may formulate preventative treatments.
Predisposition testing requires that individuals submit the necessary sample in the office of a health care provider. Individuals may submit DNA samples for ancestry or paternity evaluation from the privacy of their home. After purchasing a test kit, clients merely follow the instructions for acquiring the necessary sample, which generally only entails swabbing the inside of the mouth. Once received by the testing laboratory, technicians perform the desired test and send the results back to the client.
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Recently reviewed study shows that what parents-to-be normally wait 20 weeks for, can now be achieved in seven. This form of prenatal determination uses cell-free fetal DNA from the mother’s blood to determine the gender of the fetus.
These newly reviewed tests have been available for sale in many countries but have only recently been examined by experts. US experts found that the study is 98% percent accurate when blood was tested after the seventh week of gestation.
The amount of risk accompanied by invasive cytogenetic tests is extremely diminished by this noninvasive method. Tests like amniocentesis can help determine genetic abnormalities as early as the 15th week of pregnancy. But pregnant women must risk miscarriages and other complications to themselves and their baby.
An ultrasound is another common method of determination that similar to testing maternal blood, is also noninvasive. The position of the baby can cause issues though and parents usually wait 18-20 weeks before conducting this test.
Researchers reviewed 6,541 pregnancies in 57 different studies and found a sensitivity of 95-percent and a specificity of 98.6-percent. These results are tremendously accurate and can prove to be very helpful for high risk pregnancies.
Some are concerned though that the availability of such an early test will cause parents to choose pregnancies based on gender. For example, if a family already has all girl siblings, the parents may not continue with the pregnancy if the gender was found to be female again. This can also be an issue in certain cultures where males are favored.
What do you think about these new early-detection gender tests for your family and your unborn baby?
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The Mad Men star stays mum about the topic of paternity.
X-Men: The First Stand and Mad Men star, January Jones, has yet to reveal the father of her baby. There is a possibility that Jason Sudeikis, SNL star and ex-fling of January Jones, may have spilled the beans at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. “I might be a dad soon,” Sudeikis stated while hosting the award ceremony. Jones is not due until the fall but has not been shy about her pregnancy while she tours internationally to promote her role as Emma Frost in the latest X-Men blockbuster.
So is Jason Sudeikis the father or not? In an interview after the MTV Movie Awards, Sudeikis stated that he was “joking.” The couple was together for six-months; the romance became public in July of 2010 and went on before splitting in January of this year.
The 33-year old Mad Men actress made an official statement about her pregnancy in April. Since the baby is due in the fall though and they split in January, some are speculating that it couldn’t be Sudeikis.
Sudeikis and Jones before the split
There have also been recent rumors that the father of the baby is director, Matthew Vaughn. If this is the truth it may explain her silence, especially because Vaughn has three children with super model wife of 9 years, Claudia Schiffer.
A source told US Weekly that Jones is looking forward to being a single mother. Does this mean she has no intention of finding out the true paternity of her unborn child? Do you think January Jones already knows who the father is and is just keeping mum?
Jones could easily confirm the father of her baby with a prenatal paternity test. Early detection can provide answers as early as 10 -12 weeks into a pregnancy. Do you think January will finally reveal who the father of her baby is?
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Deciding on what to name a baby is not the only thing parents need to consider these days.
Through the enhanced field of science, DNA testing is providing parents with information that perhaps the expecting couple’s parents may never had been confronted with. Through prenatal testing, amniotic fluid is collected and tested from the fetus in order to indicate whether there are any chromosomal abnormalities. Although the testing reveals a potential horrific truth about the future of a mother’s pregnancy, it is an informative test that has helped parents-to-be make difficult decisions that will be for the benefit of other children in the household and of course for the life of the unborn child.
Although the topic is sometimes too hot to handle, it is nonetheless an important topic to address. Recently, in an article from the New York Times in the publication’s Motherlode section, a mother expresses her decision that her husband and her had to make when finding out that their unborn child had a high percentage of being born with Downs Syndrome. With two other children in the household, the couple discussed or in a better illustration, according to the New York Times, “My husband and I sobbed and raged, together and separately. He stopped eating and sleeping. He expressed thoughts of suicide and of walking away from the family — emotionally, if not physically. There was nothing I or anyone could say to convince him that Down syndrome need not be a tragic diagnosis. He could only imagine a severely disabled child, one who would know nothing but suffering and pain.” Through a tough decision considering the children they already had and the life of their unborn child, the couple decided to terminate the pregnancy. The mother also mentions in her response to the NYT that it was almost a known answer from the start. “How could I bear a child whose father didn’t want him — was afraid of him? How could I rob my older children of their dad?”
The distressed mother ends her response with the fact that she feels she made the best decision. She recognizes that she is now part of a majority of couples that terminate pregnancies and even expresses sporadic “pangs of regret,” however she also lets her readers know that it was not an easy decision, just the best for her and her family.
What would any one couple decide to do in a similar circumstance? Prenatal DNA paternity testing might present an additional and difficult decision for couples, but it certainly helps individual couples make a life changing choice. Raising a child with a chromosomal abnormality like Downs Syndrome takes a certain kind of life that not every couple is capable of giving. If a couple should decide to raise a baby with Downs Syndrome, testing will in turn, give them sufficient notice to plan for the future of the child. Talking with parents of children with Downs Syndrome and also discussing with doctors what the best steps are in raising a child with this disability, are two important things parents can do before the baby is born, all thanks to the capabilities of DNA testing.