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New US Legislation Could Be Boon for Forensic DNA Testing Shops

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (GenomeWeb News) - DNA-based forensic testing companies would benefit from a new federal bill that seeks to allow law-enforecement officials to obtain DNA from arrested suspects and illegal immigrants and upload the data into the federal DNA database.

 

The bill has passed the US House of Representatives and Senate and will have to be signed by President Bush in order to become law.

Currently, only convicted felons can be included in the federal DNA database, called the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. Five states authorize DNA testing of many arrested suspects, but the states are prohibited from uploading the DNA profiles into CODIS.

 

If the new legislation is passed, states will be allowed to upload DNA profiles from arrested suspects into the CODIS database. This could potentially result in millions of individuals being added to the database in coming years, according to forensics company Orchid Cellmark.

 

In addition, the new legislation will authorize the US Department of Justice to collect arrestee samples from all federal and military offenders. This could potentially involve an estimated 250,000 new DNA profiles annually.

 

The new legislation will also allow DNA samples to be taken from immigrants trying to cross the USborder illegally. This could potentially affect 300,000 individuals each year.

 

Under the provisions of the bill, federal DNA grant money authorized under the 2005 President's DNA Testing Initiative, or Justice for All Act, can be used for forensic DNA testing of arrestees.

 

The bill, which is part of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, or Senate Bill 1197, is now being finalized by Congress. Once finalized, it will be presented to President Bush for his signature.

 

If passed, the bill is expected to increase the use of forensic DNA testing, which would benefit forensic DNA testing companies such as Orchid, Cluefinders, and DNA Diagnostics.

 

More information about the bill can be found on the Library of Congress website.

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