Friday, 20 June 2008

DNA testing under fire in California

There's a fascinating story unfolding in California just now, as recounted by Dick Eastman on his American based genealogy blog ( It looks like the baddies are trying to shut down all non-state run DNA testing facilities, including genealogical testing facilities.

According to California's Chief of Laboratory Services in the Health Department, Karen Nickles, "We [are] no longer tolerating direct-to-consumer genetic testing in California." Cease-and-desist letters have been sent to 13 different companies in the State. The full story can be explored further at . Nickles has quoted several California statutes in her defence in her letters, such as the Business and Professions Code Section 1241, which requires that "all clinical laboratories in California ... possess a clinical laboratory license", and Business and Professions Code Section 1288, which requires a doctor's note for all laboratory tests, unless, like pregnancy tests, they are specifically exempt from that law. She claims that "Genetic tests are NOT exempt" and that "As such, the test must be ordered by a physician or surgeon". Twenty five DNA companies in the state are under investigation, of which the 13 have been ordered to stop immediately and to "desist from ever doing it again".

On Dick's blog, a comment from reader 'Bill' in Texas seems to reflect the response in a beautifully American way: "Karen Nickles needs a glass naval - so she can see where she is going with her head up her butt". Far be it for me to argue with Texas Bill...!

(By the way, a new series of Big Brother has just started on Channel Four...!)

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Anonymous said...

The State specifically said on their June 13th call, the recording of which is online, that geneaology, ancestry, and identity testing are not included in their crack down. Only tests relating to human health. This is fuzzy, though, because where does "just information" stop and "human health" begin?

Chris Paton said...

Probably where the state decides! lol