DNA testing is a pivotal tool used by law enforcement agencies. If a piece of hair, skin or saliva residue is left behind at the scene of a crime, forensic pathologists can identify its DNA structure and hopefully match is with a suspect’s DNA. Currently, DNA testing takes several weeks to complete, but this could change very soon thanks to a new screening technology being developed by the Global Alliance for Rapid DNA Testing.
According to Pentagon officials and researchers close to the project, the new DNA screening technology is in the final stages
of completion. Once complete, it will allow law enforcement officials to accurately identify DNA in just an hour and half. Obviously, that’s a monumental improvement from the current 2-3 week time frame required for DNA screening.
Chris Asplen, executive director of the Global Alliance for Rapid DNA Testing said the following:
“When it comes to solving crime (not proving it in court but actually using DNA to find the killer, rapist, burglar, etc.) the value of DNA as an investigative tool is directly proportional to the speed at which it can be leveraged in any given investigation.”
The 90-minute DNA screening project is called the Accelerated Nuclear DNA Equipment (ANDE). The Pentagon is aiming for a completion date by June, but this may get pushed back due to legal road blocks and technology issues.
With the time frame for DNA screening being reduced to just 90 minutes, law enforcement agencies can perform on-site tests rather than sending samples off to the lab for analysis. In addition to saving time, ANDE technology will also cut costs by eliminating the need for lab analysis.
Asplen later stated that 90-minute DNA screening would prove useful in a variety of situations beyond local law enforcement, some of which includes immigration, war crimes, human trafficking, and identifying high-profile terrorists.
But there’s one major problem that must be addressed before the 90-minute DNA testing becomes a reality. When the DNA testing laws were originally created back in the early 1990s, they specifically stated that only DNA tests done in accredited labaratory may be entered into the national DNA database. Changing the laws to include on-site testing shouldn’t be a huge challenge, but it’s still one more task that must be addressed before they can legally enter DNA into the national database.
What are your views on the new 90-minute DNA screening technology? Let us know in the comments section below!