Lifetime's 'Bad Blood' Didn't Happen In Real Life, But There Have Been Some Actual DNA Mix-Ups
DNA testing sure has come in handy these days, giving us the chance to trace ancestral roots and even prove that someone who was wrongly accused of a crime is innocent. But nothing is ever perfect and neither is DNA, because some humans can have more than one set of genes — and that's what Lifetime's new movie Bad Blood is all about. In the TV movie, a woman is falsely accused of murder, because the man who received her bone marrow now has her DNA, too. Far fetched? Not at all. There have been plenty of real-life occurrences of this, too.
How could this happen? Well, bone marrow is the tissue inside the bones and it produces red blood cells. As Stanford at The Tech describes, if someone gets a bone marrow transplant, that's tissue with different DNA and thus produces new red blood cells with that DNA. Now, that person's got two different sets of DNA, which is known as a blood chimera. Even a blood transfusion can temporarily alter your DNA for a bit. Pretty cool, eh? It is in theory, anyway. If only it gave people superpowers rather than cause complete and utter confusion and legally frustrating misunderstandings, which is what it's mostly done in real life.
Here are three totally true instances where blood chimeras have caused some problems.
Sexual Assault In Alaska
Back in 2005, the BBC reported on an Alaskan man was linked to a sexual assault attack, but he couldn't have been guilty or even present at the time — he was in jail. It turns out that the crime was actually committed by the man's brother, who had received a bone marrow transplant from the jailed man a few years earlier.
Yikes. "It makes sense for investigators to be savvy to this," David Lazer, an expert on the use of DNA in the criminal justice system, said.
Karen Keegan in Boston needed a kidney transplant so naturally, her kids were tested. Her doctor came back to her with shocking news: Her kids weren't matches to her DNA at all. "They wanted to know the name of the hospital where my children were born," Keegan told ABC News. "They had some other thoughts, like perhaps this was some kind of in vitro fertilization or even worse, that this woman just might not be completely telling the truth or even be psychologically unbalanced in some way."
It turned out that Keegan's blood had different DNA than her organ tissue, which doctors have said means she was meant to have a twin. So basically, Keegan was her own twin.
The Mother Of Her Children — Or Is She?
As the video above describes, Lydia Fairchild knew she gave birth to her two children, but DNA testing said otherwise in 2002. She applied for welfare assistance, but when they saw that DNA said Fairchild wasn't a match to her kids, the mother almost lost custody of her children and was taken to court for committing welfare fraud. Social workers and attorneys insisted to her that DNA evidence was 100 percent foolproof and irrefutable.
Until Keegan's story above came along and it gave Fairchild's lawyers an idea: They tested her relatives, as well as other parts of her body and finally found a match for her kids.
You might want to keep these real stories in mind when watching Bad Bloodon Saturday night.
Images: Giphy, Getty Images