Thursday, September 07, 2006

Robotics Put To Use In DNA South African Lab


by team UAB, jkl

I'm not sure how I feel about this new robotics system. It will increase lab productivity while decreasing staffing requirements. I guess we'll see how things go for South Africa...

The South African Police Service (SAPS) today unveiled a R75 million robotics system at its brand new Forensic Science Laboratory in Pretoria.
There has been criticism in recent weeks of South Africa's DNA testing capabilities, and the SAPS says no other law enforcement agency in the world has anything like it, as it combines the latest technology into a single system. The system can handle 800 DNA samples per day and runs 24hours, seven days a week...
Greyling says the concept of laboratory automation is common in that liquid handling machines are used all over the world as part of the DNA testing procedure, but in this case there is no further contact between man and machine once the evidence is submitted, right up to where the forensic report is printed.
He says the new robotics system will greatly increase capacity at the lab. Currently, 50 analysts manually process between 200 to 300 samples per day. The new system can process a maximum of 800 samples daily.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I am pro robotics in the DNA labs. In a way it makes me wonder just how well are the "machines" equipped? Man has always controlled machines, but with new technological advances being made I'm not sure that will last. Have officials estimated the actual success rate of these robots. Can they (the robots) make mistakes? While robots are increase productivity in the labs, where will that leave 'man'?

S.H.

Forensic Bloggers said...

for SH - well, if they work well enough, i guess men will have to find other jobs. Or each person could maintain a machine and the productivity will go through the roof. Of course, the limiting factor would become the cost of supplies. I'd be interested in seeing how this instrument works. I picturing a cartoon-like complex device. Normally DNA analysis is done in at least 3 separate steps.

-jgl

Anonymous said...

How many DNA samples can an analyst process in a day from setup to reviewing the results ?

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