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New Law Allocating $1 Billion for Forensic DNA R&D May Benefit Genomics Shops

NEW YORK, Nov. 3 (GenomeWeb News) - A new law signed by President Bush over the weekend sets aside more than $1 billion in federal funding over the next five years to increase and improve the use of forensic DNA technology at US law enforcement agencies.


According to the Library of Congress Thomas database, a portion of the legislation, called the "Justice for All Act of 2004," is designed to "eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA samples collected from crime scenes and convicted offenders, improve and expand the DNA testing capacity of federal, state, and local crime laboratories, and increase research and development of new DNA testing technologies."


The new funding could be good news for companies such as Applied Biosystems, Orchid BioSciences, DNAPrint Genomics, ReliaGene Technologies, MicroFluidic Systems, and Tecan.

"We are well-positioned to accommodate the increasing testing volumes expected to result from this landmark legislation," Paul Kelly, CEO of Orchid, said in a statement yesterday.


The act is divided into four titles, two of which include sections that authorize funding or increase support for specific initiatives related to DNA testing. These sections include:

--Section 202, which increases authorized funding for the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination program to $151 million annually for the next five years, expanding upon the DNA Analysis Backlog Act of 2000;


--Section 203, which calls for expansion of CODIS, the national database of DNA identification information;


--Section 206, which states that grants may be made, via vouchers and contracts, to private, for-profit laboratories to assist in collecting DNA samples from offenders and processing crime scene DNA;


--Section 305, which authorizes $15 million in grants per year for the next five years to support research and development to improve forensic DNA technology;


--Section 307, which authorizes $42 million in funding per year for the next five years to the FBI to apply towards nuclear DNA analysis, mitochondrial DNA analysis, regional mitochondrial DNA laboratories, CODIS, the Federal Convicted Offender DNA program, and DNA research and development;


--Section 308, which authorizes $2 million in grants per year for the next five years to promote the use of forensic DNA technology to identify missing persons and unidentified human remains.

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