Generazzi rule the Wild West of paternity
THEY’RE called “generazzi” or “genetic trophy hunters”.
They’re DNA or genetic identity thieves who hunt down the DNA of famous people.
Offers of sale of the DNA of President Barack Obama and Elvis Presley on eBay showed there was “a market for genetic material taken without consent”, said University of California law professor Elizabeth Joh in a resear ch paper on DNA theft, published in the Boston University Law Review in 2011.
She said the “non-consensual collection and analysis of another person’s DNA is generally unconstrained by law”.
Legally, it’s been described as the “Wild West” and a “no man’s land”, said Joh.
The professor mentioned a plot to steal Prince Harry’s hair to verify whether he was Prince Charles’s genetic child, and bodyguards removing a glass former US president Bill Clinton drank from at a UK pub”.
Hollywood mogul Kirk Kerkorian allegedly took millionaire film producer Steve Bing’s DNA from dental floss Bing left in his rubbish to prove the child at the centre of Kerkorian’s paternity dispute was Bing’s, she said.
Professional athlete’s DNA was sometimes analysed despite their protests – to screen for risks of fatal health conditions before offering them lucrative contracts.
National Basketball Association (NBA) player Eddy Curry refused on privacy grounds to undergo a DNA test requested by the Chicago Bulls before they traded him to the New York Knicks. Joh also mentioned the following examples that could arise:
A political party wanting to publicise an opponent’s predispositions to disease that might render the opponent unsuitable for office.
A historian or journalist pursuing the truth about someone claiming to be the illegitimate descendant of a public figure.
Someone publicising an enemy’s likelihood of becoming an alcoholic, a criminal or obese.
A person who wants to know whether his or her partner carries genes for baldness or persistent miscarriage.
“Blackmailers or nosy neighbours may collect DNA for personal vengeance or mischief,” wrote Joh.
On the other hand, these tests could cause much joy.
Politician Peter Orzag was concerned about drinking too much Diet Coke, and was delighted to discover he had a gene that helped with efficient caffeine metabolism, Joh wrote. email@example.com
A DNA kinship test tests the relationship between two or more people to the relationships, for example, of half siblings, parents and grandparents.