Don't Be Shy - Show 'Em Your DNA!
||"Is $100 worth knowing you aren't
genetically related to your girlfriend?"
Anyone who has watched a
trial or a crime show knows of the importance of DNA. Like your
fingerprints, DNA is a unique molecule which is present in most of the
cells in your body. The "strand" is a chain of bases which pair together.
The order in which your pairs occur is what makes you genetically
one-of-a-kind. And now you can find out just how unique you are, with a
Home DNA Sampling kit from CATGee.
STEP ONE: GET THE KIT ($29.95)
The first step in the DNA
sampling process is to obtain the CATGee kit. Arriving in a cool metal box
the size of a DVD case, the CATGee package includes detailed instructions
and two foil packets containing: 3 sample swabs, 1 storage card and storage
pouch, a postage-paid return envelope with inner storage envelope and a
pair of latex gloves. The kit actually serves two purposes: to send a
sample of your DNA to CATGee for analysis and to store your own DNA
long-term (useful if you are kidnapped or want to prove you didn't commit a
Looking more like a medical kit from Star Trek, CATGee's Home DNA
Sampling kit arrives in a metal box with everything you need to
obtain your own DNA sample.
The technology CATGee uses
to store your DNA is painless (rubbing skin cells from your cheeks) and reportedly used by law enforcement agencies and
laboratories worldwide. Although the company does not know how long the
samples will remain intact, the technology is eleven years old, and the
samples created at inception are still intact, so you've got more than a
decade before you need to worry about ordering another kit.
STEP TWO: HAVE CATGEE ANALYZE YOUR DNA ($60.00)
Once you've captured your
DNA with the kit, you can send it off to CATGee using the postage-paid
return envelope. Within 30-60 days, you'll receive a set of results which
the company has dubbed a "CATGee Code." In reality, it is the
identification of your XX or XY chromosomes (which determines whether the
sample is from a male or female) and a measurement of 10 key STRs (Short
Tandem Repeats) which appear in your DNA. According to a report by John M.
Butler and Dennis J. Reeder, the odds of your sample matching another
random sample are approximately 1 in 3 trillion. However, these 10 STRs are
also used in paternity suits, so if you're entire family has their DNA
analyzed, you can see how the children receive DNA traits from their
The CATGee Club package includes a
sticker, a "defining DNA" card,
a chart of your personal DNA, and a membership card which includes
DNA profile as well as your CATGee membership number.
STEP THREE: THE MARKETING BEGINS
Once you've become a member,
you can order personalized CATGee merchandise that have your actual DNA
profile emblazed right on the items. Currently, CATGee only offers a bright
orange shirt and a dark green sweatshirt, shown below. Additional CATGee
Club products from
pillowcases to stationary should be available later in 2003.
For now, CATGee offers
two clothing items with your
personal CATGee code, but additional items like
stationary and pillowcases are planned for late 2003.
DNA=DOES NOT APPEAL?
With shipping, you're
realistically looking at a Ben Franklin just to sample and analyze your
DNA. Is $100 worth knowing you aren't genetically related to your
girlfriend? Add to the fact that you'll probably have to pay for her test
too, and you've got quite an expensive little endeavor here. But the kit
and all of the activities it will inspire is fun, and there's nothing quite
as romantic as wearing your lover's DNA on your shirt. -Just ask Monica
CATGee's Home DNA
Sampling kit and clothing based on your unique DNA is now available
worldwide from CATGee.com
or by calling (800) 828 1545.
More DNA-based products are planned for release later this year.