dna

Dec. 15, 2016, 3:00 am

 

Is your father really your biological father?

Is your child really your biological child?

The spectre of dubious paternity now haunts the Naivasha road tragedy in which 43 people died, mostly incinerated in a fireball on Saturday night.

Because most were burned beyond recognition, the state must use DNA for identification.

Fathers, mothers and siblings rushed to present DNA samples.

But fathers’ samples are being rejected as less reliable.

The state has bypassed fathers and is only testing DNA from mothers, brothers and sisters to identify remains.

Autopsies and DNA testing will take at least two weeks to a month and funerals will be delayed, except for those who died in hospital and whose families are known. Their DNA will be collected and tested.

Mothers’ DNA is most reliable and avoids the possibility women have borne children to men they have not married — and not told the truth.

Chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor yesterday said the decision was made because the only biological parent Kenyans — or anyone — can be sure of is the mother, and many men could be raising non-biological children.

“The only person you are certain of is the mother, unless the child was swapped at the hospital. And there is the factor of men raising children they have not sired, which is not isolated ton Kenya. It happens the world over,” Oduor told the Star.

He said also fathers’ specimens does not guarantee exact results.

Oduor said the DNA passed from mother to child is critical in pathology and that’s why the state insists on using mothers’ and siblings’ DNA.

Expert comment: The reason experts turn to mothers in DNA tests to determine identity

The 43 died in the December 10 tragedy after a lorry carrying a flammable chemical rammed other vehicles, creating a pileup and exploding into a fireball that engulfed 14 vehicles.

Yesterday, the government held a memorial ceremony in Nairobi for the victims.

But the DNA decision is bound to cause anxiety

 

RAED MORE, The-Star

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