NEC develops world's first portable DNA analyzer

Published 16 October 2007

The size of an attaché-case, the portable DNA analyzer can be carried to the crime scene; it completes the five-step DNA analysis process in about 25 minutes

Here is a device which would provide law enforcement and soldiers with the means to ascertain, with near-absolute certainty, the identity of suspetcs they capture: NEC is showing what surely must be the world’s first portable human DNA Analyzer with Aida Engineering. This analyzer integrates all steps of the DNA analysis process, from DNA extraction to electrophoresis and individual profiling. The analyzer has been developed with the law enforcement market in mind, and is the size of an attaché case which can be carried to the crime scene.

DNA analysis process consists of five steps: (1) cell collection, (2) DNA extraction, (3) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify DNA fragments, (4) electrophoresis to ascertain DNA “fingerprints,” and (5) STR analysis for determining genetic profiling. The NEC device, small as it is, integrates the entire process. The very fact that the entire process is dones within one device also speeds up the process of identification considerably, especially the slowest of the five phases, the PCR procedure, during which DNA fragments are alternatively heated and cooled. The device can complete the entire process, from DNA extraction to analysis, in about twenty-five minutes.

The quick identification of suspects will be helped by the FBI-developed CODIS(Combined DNA Index System) database for storing DNA data on crime suspects and other individuals. CODIS now holds data on approximately four million individuals. We note that Japan is also working to install a similar DNA database.

*Combined DNA Index System: