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Thursday 22nd January 2004

I had stayed up late last night, stupidly watching a very poor Rick Moranis film. I don't know why I do this. Why do I avoid going to sleep in order to see what happens at the end of a predictable and unfunny movie that I could almost certainly buy for 99p in a bargain bin video shop (or more likely get as one of 4000 films that come free with a new DVD player being touted by Jeremy Beadle).
Consequently I woke up late, just in time to see the end of Trisha, now the unchallenged queen of early morning opinion and problem based programming. She's the queen of that. And to celebrate she's had her hair done. Suck on that Kilroy.
The end of this show revolved around two middle aged women, who had recently discovered that they might share a father. Apparently woman number one's dad may have had an affair many years ago and woman number 2 was the result of this. The two women seemed to get on extremely well: they really liked each other and in the year since they had first met had clearly become close. They were like sisters.
And now they were coming on TV to take a DNA test to see if they really were related. You could see it meant a lot of woman number 2; she'd been brought up in shame, without a dad and presumably without a family. But now she'd possibly found one. There was a lot resting on it. Woman number one had brought gifts and written a poem for her possible sister. She gave them to her before the opening of the envelope. Woman number 2 was extremely nervous. What would she do if it turned out they weren't related after all? She didn't even want to think about it.
It turned out they were sisters and they joyously celebrated their dad's infidelity. It was quite moving. Sister one gave sister two an extra gift she'd been holding back. Presumably if it had turned out they weren't related she wouldn't have got that one. All was well with the world.
But it's interesting that the fact they are definitely blood related makes a difference to them. Before they got the results they felt very close and were effectively sisters to each other. Had the results gone the other way would this genuine and real connection have disappeared? Would the piece of paper saying they weren't related be important enough to sour what they had built up? Does sharing DNA really make us closer to someone or are these feelings of blood relation being the most important thing just a conceit?
If, after twenty years, you were to find out that your sister wasn't your biological sister, or that your dad was not your biological dad would it really make that much difference?
In cold evolutionary terms a man bringing up another man's child is a genetic victory for the absconding male. He is not tied down to a family and can spread his genes even further afield. But is a bit of spunk what makes us a dad? Or is it how we relate to the family we are with and how we nurture a child whether it's ours genetically or not? Is it really a victory to a human being to end up having nothing to do with their own kid?

It would be a shame if a piece of paper and a little drip of spermatazoons made all the difference to these two women. I find this a fascinating subject (and clearly not a very funny one today, sorry), and I wonder if the proliferation of DNA testing is really helping anyone. Whether it should be used as entertainment (and it is very enthralling and hard to turn this stuff off).
Though personally I'd like to see Kilroy tested to see if he has any Arab blood in him. I suspect he is bound to, which would leave him in a bit of a quandary.

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