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Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Online paternity test
Microscope
The website will analyse human hairs
A website offering fast turnaround paternity tests has been launched in the UK.

The new service cuts the wait for results from three weeks to just three days.

Instead of blood tests, it analyses a few hairs from man and child.


It is much less stressful for everyone

Company spokesman

The service makes use of technology developed from the Human Genome Project.

Controversially, the www.dnanow.com web site also gives men the chance to test for paternity without the knowledge of the woman or her child.

The new site is part of an Australian company called DNA Solutions.

Customers can fill out a form online, send samples of their and the child's hairs in the post, and have the results e-mailed or posted back within a few days.

The service costs between 195 and 240 and tests are claimed to have an accuracy rate of "above 99.99%".

'Faster and cheaper'

A spokesman for the company said: "It is a much faster and cheaper service and because it only requires a few hairs rather than the need for blood samples, it is much less stressful for everyone.


There is nothing illegal about the web site

Department of Health

"It also means the courts do not have to become involved."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "There is nothing illegal about the web site.

"We are aware of concerns raised by advances in DNA testing and we are in the process of drawing up a voluntary code of practice on the way companies work."

The code is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Around 15,000 DNA paternity tests are carried out each year in the UK, mainly for the courts or the Child Support Agency.

To establish who is the father, judges have ordered blood tests which have been conducted by doctors.

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