As in many aspects of life, here too - in DNA testing, discretion is the
better part of valour.
When I took Genetics 101 in college (somewhere around the Jurassic period,
according to my children), I expected to be given the famous PTC testing kit
so that I could test all my family and trace the inheritance pattern of the
dominant gene which enables certain people to taste the presence of the
However, the professor announced that starting that semester, he was no
longer giving out the kits. We asked him why not. His explanation was that
in the previous year a student had taken the test home over spring break,
and when she returned was clearly distraught and seriously depressed. She
discovered that she could taste PTC, but that neither parent could. As PTC
sensitivity is dominant, this meant that her "father" could not possibly
have fathered her. After a few days, the student returned home to confront
her mother with the act of adultery she had uncovered, replete with the use
of epithets which do not bear reputation here. Well, to make a long story
short: it turns out not only that her father did not father her, but her
mother did not mother her, either. She was adopted, and her parents had
intended to keep it secret forever.
I have passed on DNA testing for close relatives...
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