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Send in the clones

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Are Florida parents ready to save their children's real permanent record? Cops hope so, but it may be a hard sell.

In November, officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent letters to hospitals statewide asking them to join in a program to take DNA samples of newborns, according to the Wall Street Journal. The parents would then have this sample to help identify their lost or missing child should tragedy strike. Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Starks (R-Casselberry) filed a bill that would require hospitals to participate in the child identification program, or "Chip."

Some experts predict such sampling will soon be routine. But for now Florida could serve as an important laboratory to find out how far to push folks still paranoid about the power of DNA. Officials stress that the samples would stay with parents -- not the police or the hospital.

"This is not Big Brother looking to take a DNA sample and clone your kid," says Linda McDonald, a senior management analyst at FDLE's Missing Children Information Clearinghouse in Tallahassee.


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