The genealogy world is abuzz with information about DNA. Until now, you have had to swab your cheek and send the sample off to some distant laboratory and then wait for the results. No longer! You can perform your own DNA analysis at home.
No, this is not a joke. The Spartan DC Personal DNA Analyzer is available on the market right now. Spartan Bioscience Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario, is now selling portable, real-time DNA devices that are designed for "on-demand, non-batched applications." The 9-pound desktop-sized device will analyze four DNA samples at a time.
Laboratories typically are geared to process hundreds of samples at once, and results may not be available for days. The Spartan DC Personal DNA Analyzer is advertised as the solution for those times when you do not want to wait for the results. The company claims that the device produces DNA results on demand. The personal DNA analyzer is compared to DNA laboratory equipment in much the same way that desktop computers are compared to large mainframes: the desktop-sized Personal DNA Analyzer should be the device of choice when you need to accomplish a smaller task and need to do so quickly. This device produces results in 30 minutes. The company also claims that you can learn to use it in ten minutes.
Does this thing really work? I looked at the technical specifications and, to be blunt, I didn't understand a word. The online brochure refers to SYBR Green, TaqMan, fluorophores (FAM, TET, etc.), excitation source, and other technical buzzwords that I do not understand. I'll leave it to the experts to decide if this small system has what it takes. Full technical specifications and the complete user's manual can be downloaded from the manufacturer's web site.
For "only" $14,995 U.S. dollars, you can take a Spartan DC Personal DNA Analyzer to your next family reunion and start checking for those "non-paternity events."
Full information is available at http://www.spartanbio.com.