Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Delicate Marketing Dance: DNA Testing Goes Mainstream

So Where Do These Kits Go In the Drug Store, the Condom Aisle?

I stumbled upon an ad the other day for a swab-at-home DNA Paternity Test from a deftly named company called Identigene.

Apparently, it's the only over-the-counter test of its kind. As such, it's a little weird to see a product like this being touted in a magazine let alone on a store shelf. Then again, we don't think twice anymore about ads for condoms, douches or vaginal-itch cream.
Ads like these, for better or worse, have become a fact of life -- literally so, for Identigene.
In case you were wondering, the collection kit goes for $29.95. The test itself is another $119.
Sort of.
As the kit's website points out, there's a difference between this test and a legal test, in other words, one that would be admissible in court. The testing methodology is the same; the only is it involves an independent party who would verify identification and witness the collection. That'll run you another $250.
Interestingly, Identigene is playing to people who want both outcomes. On the home page is a link to the ABC show "Find My Family," a Kleenex-fest where long-lost family members are reunited, kids looking for birth parents, etc. Identigene provides the DNA testing for the show.
Next to that link is one for a New York Times magazine from November about men who find out through DNA testing that they weren't the father of their children after all, and how a negative paternity test isn't necessarily the end of the story.
Either way, Identigene is there to help -- for $149-$399, of course.

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