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Parabon NanoLabs Wins US DoD Contract to Develop Forensic DNA Analysis Platform

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) –Parabon NanoLabs said today that it has been awarded a two-year contract for an undisclosed amount from the US Department of Defense to develop a software platform for forensic analysis of DNA evidence. The company will be assisted by the Institute of Advanced Genetics (IAG) at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

The platform, currently referred to as "Keystone," will provide an open architecture that allows bioinformatics data from any forensic science instrument to be analyzed via software plugins that integrate existing analytical tools or implement novel analytical methods.

"New DNA technologies like next-generation sequencing and DNA phenotyping have the potential to revolutionize the forensics field, and Keystone will be the first comprehensive forensics software platform able to analyze the gamut of genomics datasets," Parabon CEO Steven Armentrout said in a statement.

The goal of this software development is to provide US Department of Defense DNA laboratories with the latest forensic DNA analysis tools under a single platform. The IAG has developed bioinformatics tools that Parabon plans to incorporate into the software. Bruce Budowle, geneticist at IAG, will lead the institute's efforts.

"The analytical tools developed by the forensic research community for next-generation DNA analysis are not designed to interoperate, and they require considerable expertise," Budowle said in a statement. "Keystone will integrate these tools, under a common software infrastructure, facilitating the use of these powerful methods of DNA analysis."

Parabon also plans to commercially license Keystone to DNA laboratories around the globe. 

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