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Miracle DNA technology to trace suspects in 90 minutes
11:10am Friday 6th July 2012 in By Matthew Hobbs, Reporter
A ‘MIRACLE’ breakthrough in DNA technology has been unveiled for the first time in Warrington.
The new technology, designed in America, will eventually allow police to check the DNA of a suspect in 90 minutes.
Paul Hackett is managing director of Key Forensics, the Birchwood-based company that has become the first in Europe to produce the RapidHIT system.
He said: “The fastest we can do it at the moment is 10 hours with a whole lot of people on a real premium one-off, multi-million pound service.
“It often takes days. This condenses the whole lab process into a single instrument “It’s man on the moon for forensic science.”
The breakthrough means a process that can only be currently be completed in around six laboratories across the country has been reduced down to a box the size of a desktop printer.
During its launch at Birchwood Park last Wednesday three members of the audience were tested and recieved a DNA profile in three hours.
Mr Hackett believes the increased speed of testing will lead to a reduction in crime as police will be able to tie suspects to a crime scene more quickly.
He said: “The burglar hasn’t got home, the rapist hasn’t washed his clothes, the murderer hasn’t cleaned off the blood.
“It will have a tremendous impact on police interviews.”
But a production cost of £250,000 per unit will mean it is not seen in custody suites for the forseeable future.
Initially specialist agencies will be offered the technology, said Mr Hackett, who expects the price to eventually fall.
“This instrument has been developed because of police requirements but it is not ready for police to use just yet,” he said.
“How many rapes, burglaries and murders will that prevent? How much will that save?
“This can be used at airports, by border control and the police.
“It is the holy grail for forensic science.”
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