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Pathologist: It will cost you Sh15,000 for an actual DNA test and not Sh800

The newly introduced DNA home test kits which can be used to determine a child’s paternity has caused excitement among Kenyans on social media.

The DNA home test kits which are being sold for as little as Sh800 can allow people to learn about their genetic makeup and ancestry including paternity.

The affordability has sent social media into a frenzy with a lot of people, including politicians, taking up the matter while other, particularly men, expressing interest of verifying the paternity of their children.

The discussion on the home DNA kit started circulating on social media last week, with a section of Kenyans welcoming the news as a good move into ascertaining the paternity of their kin. Others were of the contrary opinion that the cheap kit would break marriages.

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But according to Kenyan pathologist and the founder of Lancet Laboratories Dr Ahmed Yakub Kalebi, an actual DNA test costs a minimum of Sh15,000.

Dr Kalebi clarified that the DNA home test kit, said to be available in pharmacy or supermarket shelves at a cost of Sh750 to Sh800, is just the sample collection kit (swab).

He said for the actual DNA test the sample collected has to be mailed or shipped to the lab where lab testing fee is minimum Sh15,000.

“Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of misinformation/disinformation going round perpetuated by social media comments, even in mainstream media and by political leaders suggesting that the DNA test only costs Sh800.That is not true! The test costs more than Sh16,000,” Dr Kalebi tweeted.

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What most Kenyans might not know, is that the over-the-counter kits are only used to collect DNA samples, and the results cannot be processed at home, but at licensed laboratories.

The waiting period for paternity results in Kenya could be anywhere between three to 10 working days.

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The samples used in DNA paternity tests are saliva, blood, oral/buccal swabs, plucked hairs or fingernails.

Once the samples are collected, they are labelled and packaged in the kits, which are taken to registered laboratories for analysis.

The DNA samples are taken from the mother, one child and the child’s alleged father.

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