October 17, 2012 -
Rapid DNA machines are tools used for quick DNA analysis, often providing results within 90 minutes.
The testing will involve a prototype funded by the Department of Defense, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The three agencies together have funded this research as part of their joint “Accelerated Nuclear DNA Equipment” program.
The goal of the defense department, in partnership with U.S. government inter-agency partners, is to develop technologies that enable automated rapid DNA profiling, while minimizing analytical complexity and user manipulations for field biometric and forensic applications.
While the device that the University of North Texas is testing on behalf of the Pentagon is a desktop-sized device which costs approximately US$250,000, the ultimately goal is for federal agencies to eventually drive down the price per DNA analysis from US$500 to less than US$100.
The defense department is interested in Rapid DNA matching so that casualties and enemies killed in action can be quickly identified in the field.
The Pentagon chose the University of North Texas for this un-tendered contract because of its security clearances and pre-existing expertise in the area of Rapid DNA research. More information is available about the project in a Department of Homeland Security presentation available online.