DNA tests said to be complex, routine

Published: Sunday, Oct. 4 2015 2:12 a.m. MDT

As authorities in Texas embark on the monumental task of trying to perform DNA testing on each man, woman and child from the FLDS ranch in Eldorado, a local genetics scientist is confident resolutions to parental questions within the sect can be achieved.
At the request of state officials, a Texas judge has ordered that all 437 children from the YFZ Ranch undergo DNA testing to determine exactly who are the parents of each individual child. The process likely will take some time, but the director of the Identigene laboratory in South Salt Lake said each individual circumstance should be "just like any other paternity test."
David Einum said because of the number of people and the potential closeness of some familial relationships within the group, "there is an additional layer of complexity, but the tools and the expertise are available to get the answers."
Identigene, a DNA testing company, has not been contacted regarding this case, he said. A subsidiary of the Sorenson Companies, Identigene also operates a laboratory in Houston.
He said genetics testing will allow investigators to identify "who is related to whom," but he noted that additional testing might be required in some individual cases. Einum said that in most cases, there should be sufficient information from the data collected to "allow a resolution to be achieved."
That means finding out the mother and father of each child, he said.
"This particular scenario will likely involve additional testing and additional analysis, which should be at the lab's disposal," Einum said.
Einum said officials would be best served by choosing an accredited laboratory to conduct the testing that is staffed by experienced scientists who are familiar with the tools available to delineate the relationships involved.

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