Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Squad Car Profiling

Law enforcement agencies are excited for rapid DNA profiling like that being offered by IntegenX's RapidHIT, writes Shane Bauer at Mother Jones.

The tool can generate a DNA profile from, say, a cheek swab, compare that profile to a database, and determine if there is a match, all within about 90 minutes. Faster, Bauer says, than the typical forensic turnaround time of two days.

As GenomeWeb reported in the spring, the system is being marketed to law enforcement and federal agencies in certain countries. Bauer adds that it has already been put to use in a few US states as well as in Australia, China, and other countries in Africa and Europe.

The US government is interested in using the device to determine whether people applying for asylum who say they are related actually are, and to try to cut down on child trafficking by testing whether children entering the US are related to the adults they are with, Chris Miles, from the Department of Homeland Security's biometrics program, tells Bauer.

In states, police have been using RapidHIT to identify and rule out suspects, Bauer adds.

Its potential for widespread use, though, worries privacy advocates like Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jennifer Lynch, who say that police and law enforcement agencies could it to generate and then store a greater number of DNA profiles.

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.