Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Speedy DNA Testing


by kec

A new test is being developed to compare DNA from people arrested for crimes to DNA from crime scenes that are stored in databases. This test is being done in under four hours and enables the police to check the person's DNA while the suspect is still being processed.

Andrew Hopwood, Frederic Zenhausern, and colleagues explain that some criminals are arrested, spend less than a day in jail, and then commit crimes while they are out on bail. If police could quickly test the suspects' DNA, to see if their genetic material matches entries in crime databases, they may be able to keep the most dangerous people locked up. But currently, most genetic tests take 24-72 hours, and by the time that the results are back, the suspects often have been released...To increase the speed of forensic DNA testing, the scientists built a chip that can copy and analyze DNA samples taken from a cotton swab. Forensic technicians can collect DNA from suspects by swabbing their mouth, mixing the sample with a few chemicals, and warming it up. The DNA-testing-lab-on-a-chip does the rest. The entire process takes only four hours at present. Hopwood and Zenhausern teams are already optimizing it and reducing the cycle time down to two hours. Once that is done, police could even double-check their DNA evidence before releasing a suspect.

11 comments:

Shahbaz said...

DNA testing by way of oral swabs is by far the standard procedure of sample collection as it's really quick to perform; nevertheless DNA tests, such as paternity testing.

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Anonymous said...

I think this speedy DNA testing is crucial to the world of forensics. I watch the First 48 a lot and some suspects are released because there is not enough evidence. If a DNA testing could be done while the suspect is still be processed after arrest then it would help to capture a lot of criminals for heinous crimes (rapes, murder, etc). Court cases would not last as long because sufficient eidence would be there to support the cases. I hope this new development for DNA testing is "approved" for use asap.

Anonymous said...

I think this speedy DNA testing is crucial to the world of forensics. I watch the First 48 a lot and some suspects are released because there is not enough evidence. If a DNA testing could be done while the suspect is still be processed after arrest then it would help to capture a lot of criminals for heinous crimes (rapes, murder, etc). Court cases would not last as long because sufficient eidence would be there to support the cases. I hope this new development for DNA testing is "approved" for use asap.
C.R.T

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea. Two to four hours for a DNA test to tell law enforcement if the suspect is in fact their guy is as best as it can get. Having a person who is facing serious charges wait for this amount of time is a great advance in technology because in the meantime while they wait on the results police can proceed with the interrogation. In most cases the 52% of exonerations come from improper or junk science presented at trials. This means improper analysis of DNA, unqualified analysts, improper procedures and outdated equipment. Since 1976 after Gregg V. Georgia, there have been approximately 1,214 executions of people sentenced to the death penalty. As of 2007, 138 were exonerated because they proved their innocence. Hopefully these numbers are reduced if the people working on this project can get it together and put it to use.
JE

Anonymous said...

I think this is a wonderful development in the testing of DNA. If results can come back in four hours dangerous criminals can be kept and our streets can be safer. These people belong behind bars if they are repeat offenders. Hopefully this will go into use soon and law enforcement can keep them where they need to be. MB

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