The Cremation Society of the SOUTH, the Largest Cremation Society in the State, announces its DNA Collection and Storage agreement with DNA Connections, Inc.

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The Cremation Society of the SOUTH, the Largest Cremation Society in the State, announced today that it has entered in to an agreement with DNA Connections, Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama to offer DNA Collection and Storage to its clients and families.

The Cremation Society of the SOUTH, the Largest Cremation Society in the State, announced today that it has entered in to an agreement with DNA Connections, Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama to offer DNA Collection and Storage to its clients and families.

DNA, formally known as deoxyribonucleic acid, is found in most body cells and is responsible for making up the gene markers that determine heredity. Presently over 10,000 diseases have been linked to heredity. As a result, a person’s DNA can reveal much about their genetic predisposition to many illnesses. Each person’s DNA is unique and is used to conclusively verify identity and heredity link factors. Scientists believe DNA research will provide even more information in the future that will enhance and extend the quality of human life.

When a family requests the DNA collection service, a Licensed Funeral Director collects DNA samples from the deceased using a collection kit provided by DNA Connections, Inc.

DNA is collected and sent to the DNA Connections’ testing facility for analysis and profiling for the family. The profiling will assist the family document:

·    Genetic Ansestory

·    Help prevent risks of specific diseases

·    Provide insite to make lifestyle and medical decisions

·    Assist in Genealogy

·    Assure Identification

·    Settle Relationship or Paternity Issues

·    Resolve Probate Matters

·    Solve Social Security Issues

Chris Nuzum, Executive Director for The Cremation Society of the SOUTH, stated, “Although, there is a $295 fee for this service, families are given the option of choosing to accept or decline the service.”

Nuzum further explained that, ‘the collection fee is not a relevant revenue stream for The Society; however, we feel that the option to accept or decline DNA collection is the legal right of the next-of-kin, as we have recently learned that DNA can not be collected from cremated remains.’

Knowing one’s family’s genetic history may someday save a life or that of a loved one. Based on state-of-the-art genetic technology, a unique DNA profile is generated for the family to keep for years to come. The collected DNA is stored for 25 years by an independent laboratory in partnership with DNA Connections and is available for future genetic testing upon the family’s request.

In addition to the compelling medical aspects of DNA retrieval and storage, there is a practical side, according to Danny White of DNA Connections. “Since each person’s DNA is unique to them, many people find a value in the area of finite identity. People researching their family trees for example, find this information very helpful. DNA can also be used to verify paternity and heredity and therefore it can be used to settle claims made against a person’s estate. With blended families and non-marital cohabitation, this is becoming an increasingly important issue.”

Chris Nuzum agrees, “Our Licensed Funeral Directors have all participated in exhumations for social security issues, probate disputes and paternity concerns. Preservation of DNA is a comparatively inexpensive form of insurance in this regard. It certainly spares the family from the emotional ordeal of disinterment. Of course once someone has been cremated, then the DNA is lost forever.”

Dr. Linda Randolph, Medical Services director of GeneOptix, Inc., and president of Genetic Resources Medical Group of Los Angeles states, “The field of medical research is rapidly discovering new disease and disorder links almost on a daily basis. DNA preservation can provide families with a genetic autopsy capability. Future testing will allow us to pinpoint the genes responsible for certain disorders and all for the predictive testing of the children of the deceased.”

Concerns about how this information will be used have been raised in the past. According to White, this shouldn’t be a deterrent to families considering this, “I think it makes great sense to have the DNA of a deceased retrieved and stored. Our Lab and our company are fastidiously diligent about the privacy issue. We have a very secure system to insure that each individual’s DNA is protected and not available to anyone other than themselves or those they designate as custodians.”

DNA data and private information is protected and is only released to the legal next-of-kin.

Nuzum stated that he is also considering collecting swab samples from the living when requested. Many police departments already offer fingerprinting services for children so that parents have identification on record should it become necessary.

Using this new technology, maybe the DNA profile would be a better profile for children or adults who are involved in high risk recreational activities, such as pilots, or those who simply desire DNA indentification.

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Information on DNA Connections may be found at http://www.dnaconnections.com.

Information on The Cremation Society of the SOUTH may be obtained by visiting, http://www.cssouth.com or calling (800) 474-0448 or (770) 941-5352.

The Cremation Society of the SOUTH is the Largest Cremation Society in the State and is family-owned and operated. The company began in 1994 and currently serves around 1,000 families per year.

For information regarding this press release, please contact Chris Nuzum, Executive Director at (800) 474-0448 or (770) 941-5352.

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