h a l f b a k e r y
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There doesn't seem to be a suitable place for this Idea. The
"scam" section of the "business" area is not right, because this is
not a business, as you will see.
So, let's start with an ambitious woman working as a waitress.
millionaire that she recognizes happens to come in to order
Millionaires DO sometimes visit ordinary burger shops and
equivalent restaurants. So, the waitress takes the order and
pays very close attention to serving the millionaire. When
cleaning the table afterward, she carefully collects and bags
certain items that the millionaire handled, such as cups,
forks, and spoons. The bag goes into a freezer until she can
her workplace at the regularly scheduled time.
After work she takes the bag to a special friend, who happens to
be a pre-med student that has access to all sorts of fancy
equipment. The millionaire's DNA is extracted from the items
the bag. Anything described next that hasn't already been done
will be possible to do in the very near future.
The millionaire's 23 pairs of chromosomes are isolated, and then
"unwound", to produce 46 strands of DNA. One strand from each
of the original pairs is separated, and the rest is saved for the
future. The woman now has an ovum
removed, which is artificially fertilized with the millionaire's
Some time later, she sues the millionaire for a hefty amount of
child-support. She specifically refuses to say anything about
how the pregnancy began, per existing rules regarding
confidentiality. All paternity tests come back positive, of
course! And after the lawsuit is won, another egg and another
fertilization can be done, using the saved DNA....
[scad mientist, Sep 08 2015]
||Yes, except that once the technology is known to
exist, standard paternity tests will be known to be
||Indeed, the millionaire can sue the waitress (or the
burger chain) for genetic theft.
||It is not theft to take something that has been
Something like the first part of this Idea is practically
routine in police work
these days, and if it was illegal, the gathered evidence
would be thrown out of court.
||A major point of this Idea is to show how ancient
priorities/rules regarding offspring need to be changed
in light of
today's facts (like overpopulation, modern technology,
||hmm, would a clone of a person pass a retinal/thumbprint scan of that original person, or would there be differences?
||[2 fries], certain aspects of growth are chaotic, so identical
twins have at least modestly different fingerprints and
retinas. A clone is equivalent to an identical twin.
||//It is not theft to take something that has been
||Taking the genetic material is not illegal. A test of it may
cross over to invasion of privacy (not something police
generally have to worry about during an investigation,
but a member of the general public might). Using it to
generate a child almost definitely is (or will be) although I
don't know if the case law exists yet.
||By way of imperfect analogy, it's not illegal to pick up a
wallet in the street. It's not illegal to look in the wallet
to try to determine whose it is, or even look into it
because you are curious. It is illegal to try to use
the credit cards.
||[MechE], I agree that the described use-of-DNA in this Idea
should be illegal. But in what way should the woman be
punished? Jail? Zero child support? Mandatory abortion? I
mentioned in another anno about how ancient cultural
priorities need to change because of the way modern
technology has changed many things, and allows other
things to change, too. What do you suggest?
||We already have legal precedent for this. From the link:
"Two separate cases indicate that even when sperm is
stolen or a man is forcibly raped, the man remains liable
for child support." So I don't see how stealing DNA would
be any different.
||Somehow it seems that some laws should be made to
reverse those precedents, but that might only be
effective in a few cases because the final decision on
child support would come down to proving who's version
of the story was true. In a criminal matter, generally it is
assumed innocent unless proven guilty. The laws could
obviously be improved so that when a perpetrator can be
proven guilty of stealing DNA, the victim is not liable for
child support, but in most cases the victim will not be
able to prove that. Therefore I assert that [Max]'s
assertion //once the technology is known to exist,
standard paternity tests will be known to be non-
conclusive // is irrelevant. This scam could work once
the technology is available, and much more rudimentary
versions of this can and do work with today's technology.
||//when a perpetrator can be proven guilty of
stealing DNA, the victim is not liable for child
support, but in most cases the victim will not be able
to prove that//
||I'm not so sure. For one thing, if [Vernon]'s proposed
method of collecting DNA were implemented, there's
a fair chance that the offspring would a
||//Anything described next that hasn't already been done will be possible to do in the very near future.//
||Possibly, but probably not very well...
||It might be easier to sequence the DNA and synthesize rather than attempting to use individual chromosomes directly.
Regardless, it's not going to be cheap to do anytime soon.
How much did you say you were paying for the process? IVF alone costs 5000 pounds per cycle, and you've got to pay for all that hairy chromosome separation and sorting (or sequencing and synthesis) and egg injection.
Is child support really that hefty? Using the calculator on gov.uk, I derived a weekly maintenance payment of 294 pounds per week for someone earning a million pounds a year (19,231 pounds per week). (And that's split if there are multiple children, so the second child gains the scammer nothing). That's going to cut out when the child is 16 or 20. So the total is 244608 pounds, or a quarter of a million.
||To be honest, if I were so rich I'd not fret about paying 1.5% of my income for someone else to bring up my children. Actually it seems like a good deal. If this were to become a thing I guess some rich men might even prefer to pay a bit more and have some control over the process.
//The laws could obviously be improved so that when a perpetrator can be proven guilty of stealing DNA, the victim is not liable for child support, but in most cases the victim will not be able to prove that.//
||If we did go with Vernon's proposed method, then the offspring would have one or other chromosome from the father. If I remember correctly, this is not how it normally works - there's at least one crossover between each chromosome pair during meiosis; in humans usually many. Each child chromosome is therefore a mixture of both parental chromosomes. So it would be easily proven.
As scad mientist notes, this wouldn't stop the child support claim in the current legal system (at least in the UK and presumably the USA). However, the theft/rape claim remains actionable, and the millionaire would presumably be able to afford the best lawyers.
|| Sorry, a meeellion pounds a year.
 Up to 16 years. The 20 year cutoff is if they remain in education but haven't got to university.