NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Unlike the paternity test offered through Sorensen Genomics’ website, the firm’s new retail kit will not be legally binding in potential court cases and is being marketed for “peace of mind,” said Lars Mouritsen, Sorenson Genomics’ CSO and director of lab operations.
He also told GenomeWeb Daily News this week that the company has expanded its technology, lab, and personnel to support expected increases in demand for the firm’s Identigene DNA Paternity Test Kit.
The firm announced earlier this week that Rite Aid stores in California, Washington, and Oregon will sell the Identigene test, marking the first time a DNA test kit has been made available to the public in a retail store.
The retail kit includes a swab, which is used to collect a DNA sample from the inside of the mouth. The customer then sends the sample, consent forms, and lab fee to Identigene, which is a subsidiary of Sorenson. Results of the test are available three to five business days after Identigene receives the sample and can be obtained via fax, e-mail, or mail.
The suggested retail price of the kit is $29.99, and the lab processing fee is $119.
Mouritsen said the move to the retail market was a natural shift to try to bring the DNA paternity test to a broader market while maintaining its online services business. The company wanted to reach a market that “may have less access to the Internet,” who may prefer to shop in stores, Mouritsen said.
However, the retail Identigene kit will not be a legally binding test, Mouritsen said, which means in some ways it is largely “for peace of mind” or to help people make informed decisions about paternity issues. The company does offer a test that will work for legal purposes, through its website, which costs $200.
The US government does not regulate such tests, US Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Karen Riley told GenomeWeb Daily News this week.
The American Association of Blood Banks and the College of American Pathologists have accreditation programs for paternity testing, but there are no legal ramifications for not complying with standards set by those groups. The AABB has listed 41 total accredited relationship testing facilities in the US, including Sorenson Genomics/Identigene.
New York State, which requires a request from a physician or an attorney, is the only state that has laws governing the sale of paternity tests.
Mouritsen could not provide an estimate as to how much larger the retail market may be than the firm’s online business this far, but he said the change from last year “could be anything … we’ve certainly ramped up our capabilities and staff to be able to handle those larger volumes.”
In early September, Sorenson said that it was expanding its laboratory space and was stocking up on its genomics tools so that it could increase its DNA testing services five-fold.
The company added two Applied Biosystems 3730XL DNA analyzers and one ABI 3130XL DNA Analyzer, and one ABI 3130XL upgrade to an existing 3100 DNA analyzer, Mouritsen said. The company also bought five new ABI 9700 thermocyclers, two Tecan EVO200 liquid-handling robots and two Beckman Coulter FX liquid-handling robots, he said.