(Received 17 April 1972; accepted 7 June 1972)
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The ready availability of commercial blood typing sera has led to the tacit assumption that any pathologist or laboratory technician is qualified to carry out blood grouping tests in medicolegal cases of disputed paternity, even without any previous experience or contact with problems of this nature. Suspensions of red cells from the putative father, mother, and child are merely mixed in turn with each of a battery of antisera, according to the printed directions of the manufacturer, and after the specified period of incubation, centrifugation or mixing, the reactions are read as positive or negative, depending on the presence or absence of agglutination of the red cells. The reactions for each blood specimen are then listed in tabular form for all the antisera used, and a decision is made whether or not paternity is excluded. However, the tests are by no means as simple as this description indicates; to be fully qualified to carry out such examinations one must have extensive training and experience in the field because the tests are delicate and subject to technical errors. Moreover, when the worker lacks thorough understanding, mistakes in the interpretation of the findings are inevitable, especially when it comes to the important and complex Rh-Hr blood types.
New York University School of Medicine and the Serological Laboratory of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York,
Stock #: JFS10144J