The following is an announcement from Orchid Cellmark Inc.:
Orchid Cellmark Inc. (Nasdaq: ORCH), a leading worldwide provider of identity DNA testing services, today announced the launch of a new service that gives families a simple way to preserve the DNA profile of their relatives. This new service preserves this unique source of genetic information with potentially important medical, legal and genealogy applications after a person's death. A record of an individual's DNA can provide a number of safeguards to families -- as a possible protection against future estate or lineage issues, as a way to trace family genealogy and identify ancestry, and so families may be able to track more detailed information about their medical history as technology advances.
This new service will be offered through funeral homes as a component of routine preparations before burial or cremation or as part of pre-planned funeral arrangements, an increasingly common practice in the United States. There are 2.4 million deaths each year managed by 22,000 funeral homes in the U. S., according to National Funeral Directors Association. This new service is the second in Orchid Cellmark's Heritage ID(TM) product line of identity DNA services designed primarily for individuals.
"Helping provide families with another layer of security when they lose a loved one is a logical next step for Orchid Cellmark, which is a leader in providing identity DNA testing for forensic, parentage, and immigration applications and an innovator in introducing novel identity services such as IDSecure(TM) for workers in dangerous locales," said Paul J. Kelly, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Orchid Cellmark. "Orchid Cellmark's Heritage ID product line benefits from our advanced technology for the analysis and preservation of DNA records and our almost two decades of experience in maintaining a highly confidential and secure legal chain of custody. We believe that we are the first company with the accreditations and internationally recognized expertise to offer this service to the funeral industry on a national scale."
This new service requires only a simple procedure -- a DNA sample obtained through a cheek swab. The family receives a Heritage Card(TM), a long-term storage card containing the preserved DNA sample, which under normal conditions is suitable for further analysis for advanced applications, along with a written profile of the DNA so the sample does not have to be re-analyzed for routine purposes. The Heritage Card is provided with a handsome and protective Lucite holder suitable for display or storage. By teaming with funeral homes to offer this service, Orchid Cellmark will have trained professionals skilled at working with people at their time of loss offering the service to family members.
"We are very enthusiastic about working with funeral directors to offer this positive new service to families during a time of sadness and loss," said Mary Cronley, president and publisher of Alliance & Southern Funeral Director magazines. "Preserving their loved one's DNA profile provides a valuable and vital personal resource to families that memorializes their departed relative while preserving a unique and irreplaceable link to personal and family lineage for legal, medical and genealogical uses. I believe this new service will be very positively received by the funeral industry."
"Now that the technology is available to make it affordable for families, I believe identity verification through DNA analysis will increasingly become a valuable part of funeral arrangements," said Joseph W. Budzinski, internal chief operating officer of the International Cemetery and Funeral Association.
Families interested in learning more about the service or funeral directors interested in participating can get more information at 1-800-DNA-TEST, or http://www.1800DNAtest.com.
More information about the National Funeral Directors Association can be found at http://www.nfda.org.
About Orchid Cellmark
Orchid Cellmark is a leading provider of identity DNA testing services for the human identity and agriculture markets. In the human identity area, the company provides DNA testing services for forensic, family relationship and security applications. In the agriculture field, Orchid Cellmark provides DNA testing services for food safety and selective trait breeding. Orchid Cellmark's strong market positions in these segments reflect the company's accredited laboratories in the U.S. and U.K., its innovative genetic analysis technologies and expertise, and the world-renowned Cellmark brand that has been associated with exceptional quality, reliability and customer service for nearly two decades. More information on Orchid Cellmark can be found at http://www.orchid.com.