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Lab scientists call for awareness of DNA Testing trends in paternity disputes

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN) has called for awareness on the current trends and issues bothering on Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing, diagnosis and analysis.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba chapter Mrs. Maureen Aniedobe, made the call during the association’s Annual Symposium organised in Lagos, on the theme; “DNA Analysis and Parental Disputes”.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule composed of two chains which coil around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction.

“It coils around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.

“DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), they are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.’’

Aniedobe said that the symposium was organised to create awareness on the trend of paternity disputes in Nigeria.

“Paternity and maternity test establishes the genetic proof of whether a man or woman is the biological father of an individual.

“In 2015 in the U.K, it was revealed that one in 25 fathers may not be the biological parent of their children, which became a research question for everyone.

“We have tried to put together knowledge packed presentations to create opportunities to form new networks for laboratory strengthening in DNA analysis and diagnosis,’’ she said.

The Director of El-Lab and Research Centre, Lagos, Mr Elochukwu Adibo, also said that the symposium’s agenda reflected the association’s willingness to engage and take head-on, complicated questions of contested paternity.

Adibo, who was the chairman of the symposium, said that the question of contested paternity and maternity in some cases was becoming alarming and growing at an unprecedented rate.

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“Participants, especially, medical laboratory scientists and other medical professionals in the private sector should pay attention to investment and collaboration into molecular diagnosis and genetic technology,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, urged medical laboratory scientists to promote and encourage quality outputs in their laboratories.

Salako, represented by Dr Olaoluwa Akinwale, Research Director, Public Health in NIMR, said that laboratory scientists should ensure quality outputs through good laboratory practice and quality assurance.

In his words, “as a professional association, there is no doubt that your members must be abreast of scientific advances and innovations in your area of practice and health services generally.

“It is particularly of great interest that this year’s theme will discuss DNA analysis and its applications in solving the challenges of parentage.

“I do hope that the outcome of this workshop will be transformed into implementable actions in and outside of NIMR by all participants in DNA analysis”.

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