From The Economist….
Government plans on paternity testing
IT IS a wise child that knows his own father. Genotyping means a wise father can know his own child. Testing a cheek swab from a baby can easily clear the matter up. This is a booming business in Britain, where around 10,000 such tests are thought to be carried out privately each year.
There is plenty of scope for suspicion. Robin Baker, an academic-turned-author, reviewed the available data a few years ago and estimated that as many as 10% of children may not have been sired by their supposed fathers. If the figure really is that high, a lot of hitherto stable relationships are likely to end acrimoniously, and the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill for yet more children.
That’s why there was talk, in the run-up to the publication of the genetics white paper, of forbidding suspicious men from doing this without the mother’s consent. In the event, the government decided against it, and opted merely to propose banning taking unauthorised DNA samples.
This prohibition (which would not extend to the police) would avoid cases such as the one in America in which investigators employed by Kirk Kerkorian, a Hollywood mogul, got hold of the DNA of Steve Bing, a socialite, to try to establish whether Mr Bing was the father of Mr Kerkorian’s wife’s child. And it would also discourage the plotters who tried to get hold of Prince Harry’s DNA to test it and sell the results to the papers. But it would do nothing for the wife who has had a bit on the side. She needs to mind her contraceptives.