Geneticists in Prague offer to test citizens' DNA for links to Bohemian nobility in an effort to encourage people to submit samples for screening. Jim Drury reports.
Scientists in the Czech Republic want to wipe out genetic diseases...but to do so they need people to willingly submit to DNA screenings. Now geneticists say they have found a way to entice the public to undergo genetic testing with a simple question - are you an aristocrat? They're offering free tests to the public to see if they share DNA with famous Bohemian noble Johann Lobkowitz who died 170 years ago. SOUNDBITE (Czech) GENETICIST, EMANUEL ZDARSKY, SAYING: "People wishing to undertake this test don't have to visit an ambulance. It is enough if they spit saliva on to any kind of paper, dry it and post it." Scientists analyse samples for links to the Lobkowicz clan while at the same time screening for a variety of genetic defects. They say they can test whether prospective parents are carriers of cystic fibrosis, a debilitating genetic disorder most common in people from Northern European ancestry. SOUNDBITE (Czech) GENETICIST, EMANUEL ZDARSKY, SAYING: "Our main goal isn't easy. We want to test everyone in the country. Then we may be able to eliminate some diseases from the Czech Republic." Czechs both home and abroad can send in their samples in a bid to see whether they're blue-blooded nobility....or common red-bloods like the rest of us....while at the same time giving researchers a powerful new tool in fighting genetic diseases.